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Broke the tape a foot in front of his gallant Exeter 
RIVAL.— Page 270. 




Author of ** All for Andover^' 






Copyright, 1926, 
By Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co. 

All rights reserved 
The Andover Way 

Printed in U. S. A. 

IRotwooJ) lpre66 

Norwood, Mass. 


Affectionately Dedicated 

to my son 


My Severest arid Most Helpful Critic 



I. The Heeo Appears .... 



The Hero Displays His Ignorance 



The Hero Makes a Friend 



The Hero Discovers His Musct.kb . 



The Hero Learns by Experience . 



The Hero Becomes a Good Samar- 



The Hero Wins His Spurs 



The Hero Widens His Horizon 



The Hero Is Under Suspicion . 



The Hero Is Tried by Fire . 



The Hero Reaches His Goa.l . 



The Hero Amazes His Mother 



The Hero Closes the Year 



The Hero Says His Farewells 




Broke the tape a foot in front of his 

gallant Exeter rival (Page 270) Frontispiece 


Obviously a new student ... 16 

Staggering and exhausted, Oscar let 

Bull take up his inert burden . . 280 

Mrs. Harris stopped patting her 
dress and turned to look at her 
son 298 




It was a gloriously warm and hazy morning in 
mid-September on Andover Hill. Four perfectly 
healthy young men were stretched out lazily on 
the grass in front of the new George Washington 
Hall, in attitudes which expressed disdain for 
all forms of mental and physical exertion. Every- 
where around them frenzied people were hurrying 
to and fro, shouting vague questions and consult- 
ing mysterious documents. Not far away, on the 
massive granite portico of the great Main Build- 
ing, were little clusters of bewildered youngsters, 
evidently hoping that some one would soon come 
along to tell them what to do. Now and then a 
huge truck would rumble up to Phillips or Bartlet 
Halls and disgorge a load of miscellaneous bag- 
gage. Indeed, these four idlers were the only 
ones in the immediate vicinity who looked com- 
pletely at peace with the world. 



They happened to be close friends who were 
slowly getting reacquainted after the three 
months of summer vacation, — friends so inti- 
mate that they were often known as the " Four 
Musketeers," Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D'Ar- 
tagnan. Very different in character and person- 
ality, they had certain fundamental ideas on 
which they were agreed, and among them they 
represented nearly all the important phases of 
Andover school life. 

Suddenly the chimes in the imposing Memorial 
Tower struck eleven, and one of the group rose on 
his elbow to listen attentively. 

" Say, those bells do sound good to me/' he ex- 
claimed, when the last echo had died away. " Over 
in Day Hall last year I used to hate them, espe- 
cially when * Doc ' Schleiermacher would wake us 
up by playing them early on holidays. But this 
summer out in Montana, off on the plains where 
there wasn't any noise at all, I used to feel mighty 
lonely without them. The ' Doc ' can rattle away 
as much as he likes for all of me." 

The speaker was a muscular, square- jawed chap, 
with curly auburn hair, piercing blue eyes, and a 
look of independence on his handsome face. His 
stolid indifference to the bustle near him was a 


positive indication that he had been through it all 
before. As a matter of fact, he was a senior, 
" Steve ^' Fisher by name, who, as halfback on the 
eleven and captain of the baseball team, was a 
personage in the academy. But the honors which 
he had won did not seem to fill his companions 
with awe. 

" That's all piffle, you know! " burst out a tall, 
dark-complexioned fellow, with a haughty manner 
and a somewhat cynical expression hovering over 
his lips. "You talk like a sweet young thing! 
After you've been back a week or two you'll be 
cursing at those clanging bells like all the rest of 
us." It was "Hal" Manning, editor of the 
school paper, a highly sophisticated gentleman, 
who liked to boast that he had tasted life and 
found it ashes. He resembled the Athos of 
Dumas's romaiice, and had even been known to 
wear a carnation in his buttonhole. 

" Oh, dry up, Hal! " growled a burly hulk of a 
boy, with a neck like a Roman gladiator and yel- 
low pompadour hair. "You make me tired! 
Just because you dwell in Boston's Back Bay 
and your Pilgrim ancestors stole Cape Cod from 
a tribe of helpless Indians, you consider yourself 
privileged to laugh at all sentiment. You really 


love Andover as much as any of us." These re- 
marks came from "Joe" Watson, a genial 
giant, who was captain of the track team and uni- 
versally popular because of his skill as a shot- 
putter, his football prowess, and his good nature. 
He was the Porthos of the group. 

" Yes,'' added Steve, " all this place has done 
for Hal is to teach him to conceal his unselfish 
impulses behind a sinister sneer. He has devel- 
oped into a model movie villain, who ought to 
stalk up and down gnawing his nether lip and 
blowing clouds of smoke into the air." 

" Well, when you come right down to it, Steve, 
what has Andover done for you? " This query, 
in a sarcastic tone, came from the last member of 
the quartette, a thin youth with a rather discon- 
tented countenance, whose fondness for the spec- 
tacular was shown by his bright blazer and loud 
flannel knickerbockers. He was " Ted " Sher- 
man, manager of the football team and a very 
active and shrewd politician, — Aramis, beyond a 

"What do you want me to answer?" replied 
Steve, undisturbed b> ^e insinuation. " It has 
knocked a little sense into my bony cranium, I 
hope. It has made me understand that I don't 


know quite everything. That's what it does for 
nearly everybody." 

^'Righto! " put in Joe, coming to Stevens de- 
fense. " It takes the conceit out of us. And it 
still has a lot to do in some cases I know." He 
glanced significantly in Hal's direction. 

"At last I feel at home again," commented Hal. 
" I've been waiting for that courteous retort. It's 
the same gang that we had last year. Rave on, 
will you, and get it out of your systems. I'm 
willing to admit, if it will do any good, that I'm 
glad to be back, even if I do have to associate 
with low company once more." 

The repartee was about to become more spir- 
ited, but just then Ted, rising to a sitting posture, 
interrupted by crying out, " Say, what's this com- 
ing? It's a 'knock-out,' by George! You say 
that Andover improves men! What do you sup- 
pose even this school can do to develop stuff like 

Following the line of Ted's extended finger, his 
companions saw what were evidently a mother 
and son, the latter obviously a new student. He 
was fully six feet in heigt«*'^hd had a big|rame, 
but he had a pronounced stoop forward and was 
very thin, so that he seemed about to float off 


at any moment in the light south breeze^ His 
broad forehead bulged out over his eyes, which 
were hidden behind tortoise-shell spectacles of 
unusually large circumference. On his head was 
a wide-brimmed white fedora hat, of a type never 
worn in Andover except by octogenarians, and his 
cravat was so conspicuously crimson that it 
flamed in the sunlight. Little patches of hair, 
growing down his cheeks in the shape of " side- 
burns," gave him an oddly foreign look. His 
tweed suit, which was tight and closely-fitted in 
the European style, allowed his bony wrists to 
project into space, like those of the famous Icha- 
bod Crane. He resembled nothing so much as a 
comic-paper caricature of little Rollo from Beacon 
Hill. All four boys sat up straighter to have a 
better view of this imexpected apparition. 

"What do you call it?" asked Joe in amaze- 
ment, as his eyes travelled over the strange figure. 

" Name it yourself," answered Hal. " It looks 
for all the world as if the keeper of the zoo had 
been careless." 

" No, you're wrong," said Joe, who had a literal 
mind. " It's really a ' prep,' and he is bringing 
his mother to see that he gets started right. See 
how he's hanging on her arm." 

Obviously a new student. —Page 15. 


" If that is a sure-enough ' prep/ we're going 
to have a strong candidate for Joe's place in the 
line. Gaze upon those legs! Wouldn't he shine 
in a scrimmage? " 

" Yes/' mused Ted, " I suppose you fellows 
think that this school is going to transform that 
kind of raw material into a finished product worth 
having, don't you? " 

" I'm not so sure/' replied Steve. " You never 
can tell what wonderful possibilities may be 
stowed away under even that queer exterior. 
Lincoln was no Apollo when he was a boy. I'd 
just like to have a glimpse of this fellow next 

" I'll tell you what I'll do as a sporting proposi- 
tion/' responded Ted, who enjoyed causing a sen- 
sation as a reckless daredevil. "I'll bet you 
twenty-five dollars that he doesn't last here until 

" You know that, even if I wanted to, I can't 
aJBFord to put up any money with you," Steve an- 
swered coolly, with the air of a man who is stat- 
ing a commonplace. " Nevertheless, I think that 
he may have a chance. Let's keep our eyes on 
him. It will be funny if you have to eat your 


Py this time the strangers, after pausing to 
admire the colonial buildings around them, had 
reached the four friends. As Joe stood up to go 
to his dormitory, the woman, who was in mourn- 
ing, looked at him appealingly and then came 
nearer and spoke. 

" I beg your pardon," she began, " but I am 
having difficulty in finding the place where new 
students are enrolled. Can you help me? " 

"Yes, ma'am," answered Joe, who, although 
embarrassed, did not forget to be polite. " Yes, 
ma'am, right here is where Mr. Lynton hangs 
out, — I mean has his office, — and I'm positive 
that he's there inside now. Let me direct you. 
He'll give you the dope, — I mean he'll provide 
you with the necessary information." Holding 
the door open for her to enter, the stammering 
Joe ushered her with her son into the vestibule 
of George Washington Hall, the beautiful struc- 
ture on the north side of the quadrangle. Here 
the auditorium and the administrative offices 
were located. 

As they disappeared within, Ted, who had been 
scrutinizing the prospective Andoverian, com- 
plained in a disgusted tone, " Honestly, these new 
men get worse every fall. Looks to me as if this 


institution were going down-hill. Things aren't 
what they used to be! " 

" The trouble is," ventured Joe, " that you keep 
thinking about that wonderful September two 
years back when the quartette of us entered. 
Andover will never have another ' prep ' class 
like that, — never! '' 

" That's the idea, Joe. Show off your marvel- 
lous gift of irony! " responded Ted. " But what 
I want to know is whether you ever saw on this 
Hill a less promising specimen than that? " 

" No, I don't believe I ever did," admitted Joe, 
thoughtfully and candidly. " I wonder what will 
become of him? " 

" Oh, some impatient ' prof ' will hit him with 
an axe on a dark night and throw the remains into 
Rabbit's Pond," said Hal emphatically. " That 
is, if he lingers longer than a week." 

" You two are pessimists, all right," interposed 
Steve. " That fellow is no dumbbell. His clothes 
are wrong and all that, but he looks intelligent. 
Wait until his greenness wears off! Besides, I 
still have confidence in what this school can ac- 
complish. This place will improve him, — it's the 
Andover way. See what it has made out of 
Ted! '' 


Just then Joe appeared, wiping his brow and 
chuckling audibly. "Gee! " he broke out as he 
saw Steve. " That^s a prize-winner ! He is cer- 
tainly going to have a rare reception when he gets 
in. Guess what his name is? " 


"Charlemagne! '' 

"Reuben! '^ 

" No, you're all wrong/' roared Joe. " It's 
Alfred Tennyson Harris! " 

"Carry me home to die!" shouted Ted. 
"That's terrible! " 

" How did you learn that? " inquu-ed Steve. 

" I had to introduce the two of them to Mr. 
Ljmton. The boy is going to be a senior. I 
heard his mother say that he had all but two 
points off for college, and she's sending him here 
just for a final polishing off before he goes to 

" He'll be polished off nicely here, I'm sure," 
said Ted. 

At that moment Hal interrupted with a low, 
" Look out, my hearties, here he is now! " 

Sure enough, there was the newcomer, his hat 
held in his hand and his long silky hair hanging 
down over his eyes, blinking and staring at Joe. 


" I crave your indulgence again, sir," he began 
in an odd, precise manner, which seemed like af- 
fectation, "but can you inform me where the 
building known as Wendell Hall is located? " 

"Can I, my lad? I not only can, but will," 
replied Joe, with a broad grin. " It lies over 
across Main Street beyond that Tower." And he 
pointed in the right direction. 

" I have just been assigned an apartment there, 
and I assume that I ought to move in at once," 
continued the boy, his face still solemn. " Will 
it be possible for me to obtain a servant to assist 
me with my trunks? " 

" My word 1 Fawncy ! " broke in Hal, who 
could not endure the strain any longer. "And I 
suppose you are expecting the butler and the 
second man to be in the door to welcome you, old 
thing! " 

The recruit looked puzzled for a moment, and 
then, slowly catching the point, he smiled toler- 
antly and answered, "Thanks awfully! But of 
course I realize that you're spoofing me, you 

"I'm glad that you get it," commented Hal. 
" That scores one point for you." 

Steve, who had been listening to this inter- 


change with undisguised delight, now decided to 
have a hand in the game. 

" What's your name, prep? " he inquired in a 
stem voice. 

The ana?mic-looking lad drew from his vest 
pocket an alligator-skin case, extracted from it a 
thin piece of pasteboard, and handed it deferen- 
tially to Steve. The latter examined it closely 
and read aloud, ''Alfred Tennyson Harris.'' As 
if by a preconcerted signal, the other three all 
shouted in unison, '' Alfred Tennyson Harris," 
stressing each syllable and ending with a pro- 
nounced hiss. Then Steve, turning upon the as- 
tonished boy with a frown, growled, " Prep, are 
you making fun of me? " 

" Oh, no, not at all. That's my name, the one 
I was christened with, it really is. But my 
friends all call me ' Tenny.' I was named for 
Alfred Tennyson, the great English bard, you 

" Indeed! And who is Alfred Tennyson? " in- 
quired Hal, an innocent look in his eye. " Is he 
dead? " 

'' Of course he is dead," answered " Tenny," 
with a hint of condescension in his tone. "Are 
you not acquainted with his poems? He is one 


of the most eminent of modern British authors. 
May I recite to you one of his lyrics? " 

" Shall we allow this thing to live for a day or 
two, or shall we annihilate it now?/' whispered 
Hal to Ted. 

" Oh, let it die a natural death. We shall prob- 
ably be in at the funeral, anyhow." 

Steve was a little annoyed. Surveying Harris 
from head to foot and adopting the relentless 
manner of a judge, he said, '* Prep, you have a 
lot to learn. No one with a name like that can 
dwell on this ancient Hill. You are herewith 
dubbed ' Oscar.' " 

" Oscar? Oscar? " stammered the boy. " No 
one has ever addressed me as Oscar." 

" I can't help that. You're Oscar from this 
date on, and don't you forget it. Now we'll have 
a rehearsal. Prep, what is your name? " 

" Alf Oscar, I mean." 

"Oscar, sir!" 

" Yes, sir, yes, sir, Oscar, sir! Thank you, sir!" 

" That's better. And Oscar " 

"Yes, sir, I'm listening." 

" Be sure to have those flowing golden locks of 
yours removed by to-morrow morning, — ^really cut 
short. And kindly, at the same time, see that 


those little dabs of hair on your cheeks are taken 
off. They're positively indecent! " 

" Very weU, sir/' 

Just then Mrs. Harris emerged from George 
Washington Hall, evidently a trifle disconcerted, 
and said, " Tenny, are you coming with me? " 

" Right away, Mother," he answered, and, turn- 
ing to Steve, he asked in a respectful tone, *' May 
I depart now, sir? " 

"Yes, Oscar, you may go. But don't neglect 
to comply with our requests." 

Bowing and putting his hat back on his head, 
Oscar walked off arm in arm with his mother to- 
wards Wendell Hall. 

Meanwhile Mr. Lynton, the officer in charge of 
admission to the academy, was sitting almost in a 
stupor, as he had been left by Mrs. Harris. Her 
interview with him had been brief, as brief as he 
could make it, but it had been quite long enough ; 
and, as he thought back over his many peculiar 
experiences with mothers, he could recall none 
so debilitating as that through which he had just 
passed. Young Harris, on the basis of his college 
entrance examinations, had been tentatively ad- 
mitted some weeks before to the senior class; and 
the preliminary correspondence had brought out 


the fact that the boy, who was well over eighteen 
years old, had been livkig with his mother in 
Europe for some time. The father, a prosperous 
lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas, had volunteered for 
the National Army at the outbreak of the World 
War and had been mortally wounded at the head 
of his company in the Argonne Forest. His 
broken-hearted widow, who had been a Philadel- 
phia girl, settled her husband's large estate and 
then sailed with her only son for France, hoping to 
find relief from her sorrow in changed surround- 
ings. There, except for a few business trips to 
the United States, she had remained ever since, 
with Oscar as her chief consolation, dividing her 
time between Paris and the Riviera. It is hardly 
necessary to add that the boy had been very much 
indulged and that his days had been spent in the 
company of older people. Mrs. Harris herself 
had never fully recovered from the sudden and 
terrific shock which she had sustained in her hus- 
band's death. 

As she sat there in Mr. Lynton's office she was 
an appealing figure, dressed still in black, with 
soft brown eyes and a melodious voice, and evi- 
dently almost pathetically ignorant of American 


" Mr. Lynton/' she went on when the arrange- 
ments had been settled, " my son has always had 
a nurse and a governess, and has never heard a 
cross or profane word in all his life. Now I want 
you to promise not to put him in a dormitory 
with any rough boys/' 

" I'm afraid, Mrs. Harris, that we cannot abso- 
lutely guarantee the social prominence of his as- 

" But Alfred, as you must have noticed while 
he was here, is so exceptionally refined and fas- 
tidious. He has always moved among gentlemen, 
and I don't want his sensitive nature to be coars- 

"Are you sure then that you have him in the 
right school, madam? This is a big institution, 
and there are bound to be all kinds of students in 
it. It is like a small world." 

"Yes, he must come here, if only because his 
father w^as an Andover graduate and always en- 
thusiastic about the place. But I do dread leav- 
ing my boy alone. You will watch him carefully 
to see that he wears rubbers on rainy days and 
puts on a muffler whenever it gets cold. You 
will, won't you, Mr. Lynton? " She stretched out 
her hands beseechingly towards him. 


Through long experience Mr. Lynton had be- 
come adamant to such outbursts. Unruffled, he 
replied, " Madam, I must tell you that I have 
nothing whatever to do with that phase of your 
son's career at Andover. You'll have to consult 
his house master regarding those details." 

" I shall stay here long enough to see that his 
engravings of French cathedrals are properly hung 
and that all his suits are cleaned and pressed. 
Then I'm afraid that I must abandon the dear boy 
and let him shift for himself. Do you think that 
five hundred dollars a month will be a sufficient 
allowance for him? '^ 

For once Mr. Lynton was jarred out of his 
habitual placidity. "Great heavens, madam!" 
he cried. " That's more than most of his teachers 
are paid! It would be nothing short of sinful to 
put as much cash as that into his hands. Twenty 
dollars a month for spending money, exclusive of 
food, tuition, and clothes, is ample." In spite of 
his admirable self-control he was on the verge of 
giving way to his temper. 

"Perhaps you are right," sighed Mrs. Harris, 
touching her eyes softly with a black-bordered 
handkerchief. And then she added, "Oh, Mr. 
Lynton, I know that I'm bothering you, but don't 


be impatient with me! You will have pity on a 
lonely mother and watch over my pet, won't 

Suppressing an ejaculation of impatience, Mr. 
Lynton avowed his earnest intention of guarding 
strictly the manners and morals of the newcomer, 
and then terminated the conversation as rapidly 
.as possible, being careful, however, to do it in a 
tactful way. It was at the conclusion of this dia- 
logue that she rejoined her son outside and walked 
off with him in quest of his new quarters. 

They strolled slowly by old Pearson Hall to the 
Dining Hall and the Gymnasium, stopping every 
few steps to comment on the beauty of the broad 
vistas or the synmietry of the noble elms around 
them. When they reached the Training Field, — 
the historic plot of ground where General George 
Washington once reviewed the Andover militia, — 
they paused at the foot of the Memorial Tower to 
read the long list of the Andover men who died in 
the World War. There, nearly at the top, carved 
deep in the enduring granite, was the name of 
Thomas Walker Harris, '99, Alfred's father. As 
Mrs. Harris pointed it out to the boy she said 
simply, " My son, I hope that you will always be 
worthy of him. He was a gallant soldier and a 


good man." The lad's shoulders straightened as 
they moved on, but he said nothing; his thoughts 
were too deep to be expressed. 

When they had crossed Main Street, Wendell 
Hall was in front of them, — ^an oblong-shaped 
brick building, three stories high, with a main en- 
trance in the middle of one side for the use of the 
boys, and a porch and door at each end. Mr. 
Lynton had explained to Mrs. Harris that the two 
married instructors in charge lived with their 
families on the ground floor. The two upper 
stories were devoted to single rooms and suites 
for students. To the west was open country, 
stretching down to woodland half a mile away; 
and there was a view of distant forest-covered 
hills. Mrs. Harris, accustomed as she was to city 
boulevards, considered it almost out of civiliza- 
tion, but she had to confess to herself that the 
prospect was very beautiful indeed. 

Pressing the bell at the little porch, Mrs. Harris 
was soon admitted with Alfred to the apartments 
occupied by the proctor of that entry, — a gentle- 
man named Randall. Mrs. Randall, a pretty lit- 
tle woman who looked hardly more than twenty, 
greeted the visitors. 

"Aren't you much too young to take care of 


boys? " asked Mrs. Harris when the introductions 
were over. 

"I'm not really responsible for them," smiled 
Mrs. Randall, half apologetically. " Sometimes 
we have them down for tea or dinner, but I never 
go up in their rooms except when there is an emer- 
gency. There are janitors in every dormitory, of 


'* Then you couldn't keep after my Alfred to 
make sure that he dresses warmly enough when 
the winter weather comes? " 

" You haven't been here very long, have you, 
Mrs. Harris? When you discover how things are 
run, you will probably be glad to have your son 
manage his own affairs without having some 
woman like me trying to boss him." 

" Oh, but he has never done that, my dear. He 
has always had somebody around, a governess or 
a tutor, to tell him what to do. That's why I 
want him properly directed. And I'm so much 
worried." Here the tiny handkerchief made its 
appearance, and tears seemed about to gush forth. 

Alfred, who had hitherto sat discreetly silent, 
now turned color and actually made a suggestion. 
" Mother, don't you think that we had better go 
up to the room? " 


Fortunately Mr. Randall just then came in 
from his study, — a tall, slender man, more than 
slightly bald and evidently some years older than 
his girlish wife. He wore eye-glasses on a ribbon; 
and around his mouth, beneath a wisp of a mous- 
tache, there flickered a whimsical smile, which 
showed that he contrived to extract some humor 
from what is ordinarily supposed to be a desiccat- 
ing profession. Having been thrown into contact 
with all types of mothers and fathers, he believed 
himself to be an expert in their management ; in- 
deed, he had once published anonymously an es- 
say in '' The Contributor's Column " of The At- 
lantic Monthly on *' The Female Parent and Her 
Peculiarities." As a house master he cherished 
few hopes and retained no illusions. It should be 
added that he was known to the boys as " Weary " 

Greeting Mrs. Harris with the scrupulous po- 
liteness which he showed to every mother of one 
of his boys, he gladly agreed to escort her to the 
room which had been assigned to Alfred. Located 
on the third floor, facing the west, it had an ex- 
tensive outlook over field and forest to the moun- 
tains of southern New Hampshire, even to 
Monadnock sixty miles away. It was fairly large 


and was comfortably provided with hea\y mission 
furniture; some attractive chintz curtains at the 
windows gave it a homelike appearance. 

" I must admit that it looks fairly clean, Mr. 
Randall," commented Mrs. Harris, as she stared 
through her lorgnette at one object after another. 
*' But the rug is a trifle worn on this corner. It's 
too bad that it is so obviously of domestic manu- 
facture. And there aren't nearly enough shelves 
to hold all Alfred's books." 

*' He'll find no diiBBculty in purchasing book- 
cases, or anything else that he requires, at the 
furniture store downtown," replied Mr. Randall, 
with the skeptical tone of a teacher who was 
suspicious of any such signs of culture in a new 

"You see Vm returning to France within a 
week, and I wish to be absolutely certain before 
I leave that Alfred is pleasantly established. 
Then my conscience will be clear." 

" He'll be all right, Mrs. Harris, I am sure. 
In fact ril be entirely frank with you and say 
that it is not always wise for a mother to linger 
too long here with her son." 

" That's just what I have tried to tell you, 
Mother," said Alfred, with an air of elation, as if 


the conversation were taking a turn which pleased 

" Well, it's hard that a mother isn't wanted by 
her one and only child," pouted Mrs. Harris, 
bringing the handkerchief once more into action. 

*' It isn't that, madam," hastily explained Mr. 
Randall, who had no desire to provoke a scene. 
" Sooner or later in Andover every student has to 
rely on his own resources, — the sooner the bet- 
ter — and, if he can't, this is no place for him. It 
may seem hard to parents at first, but, if they're 
sensible, — and most of them are, — they soon come 
around to our opinion." 

" Do you advise me, then, to let Alfred buy all 
his own things? " 

" I certainly do. It won't take him long to 
learn what is needed, and he'll make fewer mis- 
takes than you will. There are certain customs 
among the boys which he will not wish to go 

"Very well, then, I'll leave town this after- 
noon, as soon as I have called upon the Head- 
master. But I'm sure that Alfred will never be 
able to get under way himself." 

" You'll find that he'll fight out his own prob- 
lems and develop his own character by doing so, 


— ^at least that's our theory here. And what he 
doesn't understand, 111 explain to him." 

The conversation languished a little, and Mrs. 
Harris took her leave. Partly reassured by Mr. 
Randall's words, she watched Alfred go off by 
himself for his first meal at the Dining Hall, and 
then returned to the Phillips Inn for luncheon 
and a rest. In the late afternoon she walked to 
the Head's residence, where she was received by 
that gentleman in his book-lined study. After 
announcing that she was placing her only son 
in the academy, she settled down to a recital of 
his virtues and peculiarities, and the Head sank 
back in his wing chair, knowing exactly what to 

" My Alfred," she confided to hun, " is natu- 
rally a bright lad, and I have tried to bring him 
up like a gentleman." 

Visions of Little Lord Fauntleroy flitted 
through the Head's mind, — of a broad starched 
collar, velvet suit, accurately parted hair, and 
dainty manners! How could he escape? Why 
had he not pleaded an important engagement? 

The Head was a grey-haired man not much 
over fifty, whose life had been spent in dealing 
with schoolboys, — as ^.thletic coach, as teachei 


and now as leader of a great academy. He knew 
youthful psychology. He understood a young 
man's hopes and fears, his perversity, and his un- 
derlying idealism. Year after year he had seen 
classes come and go. He had watched timid 
youngsters develop into stalwart men; he had fol- 
lowed undersized " preps " until they became the 
heroes of Harvard-Yale football contests ; and he 
had noticed that manliness and independence are 
qualities which come only when the boy is placed 
in some degree on his own initiative. He had 
patiently listened a thousand times to the story 
which Mrs. Harris had to tell. Nevertheless he 
merely nodded enigmatically as he sat there, and 
she continued: 

" But he has had something the matter with 
his stomach ever since he was a baby, and he 
could never eat some of the things which other 
boys digest, — ^beans, for instance. Often IVe had 
to feed him for a week on just light vegetable 
salad and nuts." 

"What a time this Harris lad is in for!'' 
thought the Head. But, like some of the wisest 
statesmen, he gave his speculations no tongue. 

"And so I've been wondering whether you 
could have him report at your office two or three 


times a week and let you know how he is getting 
along with the diet I have told him to follow? 
I want to be very cautious, you know, and your 
counsel might mean a great deal to him." 

" Madam," ejaculated the Head, at last aroused 
from his silence to a point where he felt some ex- 
planation to be desirable, " do you realize that 
we have nearly seven hundred pupils in this in- 
stitution? If I saw each one for five minutes a 
week, that would cover nearly sixty hours, — six 
days of ten hours each! Where would the rest 
of my duties have to go? Our house officers watch 
the conduct of the students in their charge, and 
there is a school physician to check up on their 
health; but these men are very busy, and they 
can't be expected to investigate the daily menu 
of each boy. When a young fellow enters An- 
dover, he is supposed to be at least mature enough 
to eat properly. I am sorry to inform you that, 
if your son must have that kind of personal su- 
pervision, you ought to withdraw him at once." 
The Head was very pleasant in his manner, but 
he did not wish to be misunderstood. 

" Oh, no! I should never forgive myself if he 
didn't get an Andover diploma. His father 
graduated here many years ago, and Alfred will 


follow him. He was 'Tom' Harris, back in 
1899 " 

" What! Are you Tom Harris's widow? Why, 
he was one of the men I used to coach when I 
first came back to Andover! You should have 
let me know that you were bringing your boy 
here. Well! Well! And when I heard the name, 
I did not dream that it could be Tom's family." 

" Yes, Tom used to speak about you very often, 
but I didn't want your regard for Tom to influ- 
ence your attitude towards my son. Besides, I 
didn't know but that you might have forgotten 

"Forget Tom Harris? I should say not! No 
one could forget him and his record at Andover. 
He was a wonder." 

The Head, now embarked on reminiscences, re- 
lated story after story of the way in which Tom 
Harris, as a football star at Yale, had pulled vic- 
tory out of defeat in critical moments; and before 
Mrs. Harris left, she had good reason to feel that 
she was in a friendly community. As she stood 
in the hall saying " Good-bye," the Head spoke 
a sympathetic word : " Don't be discouraged be- 
cause the school authorities may seem at this busy 
season a little indifferent to your Alfred. We 


really are immensely interested, as you will soon 
see. Only it is the traditional policy of this place 
to urge each fellow to work out his own salvation. 
Just let your boy alone for a year, and, if he 
doesn't prove himself to be his father's son before 
next June, I shall be disappointed. He must have 
good stuff in him, it's bound to come out, and we 
shall bring it out." 

With these cheering words lingering in her 
memory, Mrs. Harris returned to her room, met 
Alfred, rode to the station with him, and kissed 
him farewell in stoical fashion, without even the 
trace of a tear. She even refrained from deliver- 
ing the parting lecture which she had carefully 
prepared after the model of those she had read in 
school stories. When the boy said, " Mother, I'm 
not sure that I'm going to like this place," she 
simply answered, " Nonsense! You'll be right at 
home within a week." And so, with more cour- 
age than she had thought she possessed, she waved 
to him from the car window; and Alfred Tenny- 
son Harris, left alone for the first time in more 
than eighteen years, walked thoughtfully up 
School Street to his dormitory. He had been 
well trained in books. His real education, how- 
ever, was now about to begin. 



Later that evening, while Mrs. Harris was 
leisurely eating her salad and listening to the 
orchestra in the Copley Plaza Hotel, where she 
was spending the night before going over to New 
York, Alfred was reclining on his window-seat, 
contemplating the artistic effect of a framed en- 
graving of Amiens Cathedral, which he had just 
suspended over his mantelpiece. He could ap- 
preciate beauties like these because he had trav- 
elled among them. He was steeped in meditation 
on the marvellous charm of that medieval monu- 
ment of stone, when there was a violent batter- 
ing at his door, followed at once by the entrance 
of three familiar figures, one of whom he recog- 
nized as his guide of the morning. Sure enough, 
it was Joe Watson, who had come with Ted Sher- 
man and Hal Manning ostensibly to inquire about 
the progress of his protege. 

"Hello, Oscar," began Joe, with deceptive 

suavity. " I see you're getting settled a bit. I 



like your taste in room decoration. Those old 
churches are fine, aren't they? '' 

" Yes/' replied the flattered victim. " I'm very 
fond of them. In fact I rather specialized in ec- 
clesiastical architecture while I was in Italy and 
Spain. Mother and I visited every cathedral we 
could discover in the guide-book." 

" Some day you must give a little talk to the 
Society of Inquiry about these churches," sug- 
gested Hal, in casual fashion. " There are plenty 
of us who would go to listen." 

" I should love to do that," responded Oscar 
eagerly, " and I could illustrate it with some 
slides which I had made for my lantern. I am 
sure that it would be interesting." 

" It would be interesting for us, have no fear," 
commented Ted Sherman, "and we must try to 
put it through. But here we are neglecting our 
business. You realize, of course, that we repre- 
sent a small group of seniors who are particu- 
larly interested in new men. Now we've taken 
a special liking to you, and we want to make 
sure that you get started right. It isn't very cold 
this evening, but you'll be needing these radiators 
in here before very long, and we thought that 
we'd call on you and offer you an option on them 


before anybody else carries them off. They're of 
high quality, and we can let you have them at ten 
dollars apiece for the two, — ^much less than cost 

Oscar gasped! Almost since his babyhood he 
had been familiar with the time-worn story of 
the unsophisticated college freshman who had 
been persuaded to pay money for the radiators 
in his room. Could he actually look as simple- 
minded as that? They must think him a moron! 
Nevertheless he resolved to carry the joke through 
and see how far they would go. 

" The radiators! '' he exclaimed. " Those radi- 
ators over there! I assumed that they went with 
the apartment." 

" Not when they can be sold/' replied Hal, 
evasively. " They'll cost you only ten simoleons 
each, and they're cheap at that." 

" Well, sir, I suppose that I'll have to do what 
you tell me," said Oscar, with a well-simulated 
groan. "But Mother did not notify me about 
that expense. Is there any other article which 
I ought to purchase? " 

**Not to-night," answered Hal, with a com- 
mendable display of self-restraint, as he pocketed 
the twenty-dollar bill which Oscar handed to him. 


Such easy picking as this was not often to be met 
with on Andover Hill! 

" There'll be a chance later to subscribe to the 
various academy organizations, though/' added 
Ted, " and, if you want to make yourself popu- 
lar right away, contribute liberally. Become 
known as a philanthropist. Shell out all you can 
spare, for it's a good investment. We'll help you 
all we can, won't we, fellows? " 

" We certainly will," chimed in Joe, with un- 
concealed emotion. " We don't meet a * prep ' 
like you every week, Oscar, — a man who com- 
bines intelligence and sympathy with wealth and 

" Yes, we'll see you again, Oscar, my lad," said 
Hal. " Ta-ta for the present. And, by the way, 
don't let any one else sell you anything. There 
are some crooks around this Hill who wouldn't 
hesitate to cheat you out of your mother's photo- 
graph. If they approach you, just inform them 
that Mr. Harold C. Manning has been here ahead 
of them." 

" Very well, sir," replied Oscar in docile acqui- 
escence. " I shall obey your instructions, sir." 

With lingering hand-clasps the three pirates 
withdrew and went chuckling down the stairs into 


the night. A few minutes later they were assem- 
bled in Steve's room, telling him the story. 

"That's funny, all right,'' said Steve, "but 
twenty iron men is just a bit too ix^uch like high- 
way robbery. We can't keep that for ourselves. 
I don't mind holding a ^ prep ' up for enough to 
buy a feed, but " 

" I know that," put in Hal, " but what are we 
going to do? He just oozes money. We can't 
very well return it to the poor fish with our 

"I'll tell you," suggested Joe, "let's start a 
fund for magazines in the Grill. We can add to 
it a little at a time ourselves, and perhaps we can 
even get more cash for it to-night." 

Thus it was that the " Oscar Harris Fund " was 
established without the knowledge of the donor; 
and the income from it is devoted each year to 
subscriptions for such periodicals as the Yale 
Daily News and the Harvard Crimson, which are 
read eagerly by frequenters of the Grill. When 
the tale was later related to Oscar, he thoroughly 
approved of the disposition which was made of 
his money. 

Just before the conclave broke up, Hal inquired, 
" How do you feel now about the possibility of 


making anything out of this Oscar, Steve? Don't 
you think that it looks a little hopeless? " 

" I'm ready to admit that the material is poor. 
But there's a sporting possibility that he may 
improve. I'm not going to abandon faith in this 
school just yet." 

With these comments on the situation, the four 
friends went to their slumbers as seniors in the 
great academy. 

Meanwhile Oscar was lying awake, very much 
puzzled over the turn which events had taken. 
On the boat coming over from Europe, his mother 
had placed in his hands copies of Canon Farrar's 
famous English school stories, Eric, or Little by 
Little and St. Winifred's, or The World oj School, 
It is significant of Oscar's ignorance that he ac- 
tually never doubted that these preposterous 
books gave a true picture of life at such a place 
as Andover. From Eric's experiences at Roslyn, 
Oscar had expected that he would be hazed, — in 
fact had been rather looking forward to it. There 
was an extraordinary scene when Eric's father had 
intervened to prevent his son from being bullied; 
and it is to Oscar's credit that he determined to 
allow no one to protect him from injury. But 
Oscar had not suspected that the older boys would 


take him for a fool; and this was evidently what 
had occurred. It is no wonder that he needed 
time to think. 

What happened to Oscar within the next few 
days may best be gathered, perhaps, from a letter 
which his mother received just before she was 
about to sail from New York. It ran as follows: 

" De.\eest Mother: 

*' You will be pleased to hear that I find 
myself very comfortable in Andover, though there 
are a few annoyances. An hour ago, when I was 
quietly reading the copy of Montaigne's Essais 
which you left with me, a group, of noisy young 
men, apparently my neighbors in this dormitory, 
entered my apartment without knocking and 
forced me to accompany them outdoors, although 
I was clothed only in my blue silk pajamas and 
my red and black striped dressing-gown. When 
I reached the campus, I confronted a throng of 
undergraduates, some of whom requested that I 
address them, calling repeatedly, ' We want Os- 
car! We want Oscar! ' Although I was well 
aware that I was being made an object of ridi- 
cule, I mounted a barrel without protesting; but 
whenever I started my discourse, I was struck in 
the rear by some burly fellow, and I could never 
say more than three or four words. I regret to 
confess that the mob compelled me to open my 
dressing-gown and display my pajamas with the 
embroidered monogram. WTien I did this, they 
gave me three distinct cheers. The name by 
which they call me is ' Oscar,' and I judge from 


some of their remarks that I am already well 

" I find that I shall require rather more money 
than I had anticipated. Last night I had to make 
the customary subscriptions to the academy or- 
ganizations, — twenty-five dollars, for instance, to 
the Society of Inquiry, the religious club here, — 
which must be in rather strange hands, for the 
men who besought me for a contribution were 
rough-looking and indulged occasionally in re- 
marks which seemed to me ill-suited to repre- 
sentatives of such a society. 

" By to-morrow I shall have all my pictures up 
and my china arranged in the cupboards so that 
I can serve tea when any of my friends wish it. 
I am sure that I shall enjoy my sojourn here, 
even though all the students are not so refined as 
I had expected. 

^' Affectionately, 

" Alfred." 

Oscar was correct in at least one of his deduc- 
tions, — there was no new man that autumn who 
was better advertised than he. His crimson-and- 
black gown of Chinese silk had attracted universal 
attention, and he was soon recognized as a prize 
" boob.'^ It was an unusual situation. Here was 
a boy who could have escorted any one of the 
undergraduates around a European capital and 
made him feel like an ignoramus ; yet at Andover, 
in a different environment, he was completely at 


sea. However, in spite of his ridiculous early 
training, he was far from stupid. He was usually 
well aware when he was being "razzed," even 
though he might be at a loss to discover what 
pecuHarity of his was arousing so much amuse- 
ment. He had resolved to keep his head, endure 
his tribulations patiently, and learn as rapidly as 
possible. One walk across the campus in his white 
fedora taught him something, and within an hour 
he had acquired the odd little " prep " cap, blue, 
with a white button on top. It was not becom- 
ing to him, but at least it did not make him con- 
spicuous, for he saw caps of the same sort every- 
where. His high, starched wing collar, which 
had been quite in vogue on the Rue de Rivoli, 
was, he perceived, quite out of keeping with the 
soft negligees around him, and he made an invest- 
ment in sport shirts. By the close of his first week, 
Oscar had adopted the garb of most of his fel- 
low students. His clothes were not in the pre- 
vailing Andover mode, but he resolved to consult 
an American tailor at the earliest opportunity and 
have himself measured for a new suit or two. 
He had, of course, visited Tony Caruso, the local 
barber, for the clipping of his long locks and the 
removal of the objectionable sideburns. All these 


transformations naturally took some time, but, by 
the first of October, Mrs. Harris would hardly 
have recognized her offspring. 

So far as textbooks and routine studies were 
concerned, Oscar was unusually well-informed. 
From an early age he had been in the charge of 
excellent tutors, who had pushed him forward as 
fast as he cared to go. But he had never set foot 
in a classroom in his life, and he was unacquainted 
with the methods pursued there. The prospect 
of recitations, however, did not daunt him in the 
least, for he had some justifiable vanity regard- 
ing his attainments. For this reason, his pride 
was destined to have a very heavy fall. 

Actual study did not begin for two or three 
days after his arrival, and Oscar devoted this in- 
tervening period to an examination of his sur- 
roundings. In a spirit of curiosity he wandered 
over the hilltop, strolling across the broad play- 
ing fields, prowling around the Gymnasium, and 
even entering the Archaeology Museum, where the 
courteous curator, Professor Moreton, in his de- 
light at this evidence of undergraduate interest 
in his subject, took pains to point out the rarer 
skulls and relics. Gazing critically at the por- 
traits of the Founders in the library, Oscar con- 



eluded that they were inferior to those in the 
Prado and the Louvre. He marvelled at the num- 
ber and variety of the academy buildings, and at 
the extent of the property. He finished his tour 
of investigation with a feeling that he had be- 
come a unit in a complex machine, with wheels 
revolving within wheels, in which each under- 
graduate, — even himself, — had a function to per- 

When the regular morning chapel services 
started, Oscar, whose religious training had been 
hitherto somewhat desultory, was thrilled at be- 
ing one of the more than six hundred men in the 
great auditorium, and he was profoundly stirred 
by the prayer of the Head, whose deep-toned and 
powerful voice filled the amphitheatre. As soon 
as the assembly was dismissed, Oscar made his 
way to Pearson Hall, where he was scheduled on 
his program to join a section in Senior English. 
Desirous of making an impression, he went di- 
rectly to the platform desk and interrupted the 
teacher, who was busy making notes in a book. 

" I thought I would inform you, sir, that I am 
very much interested in English " 

" And who are you, may I ask? " was the an- 
swering query. 


" My name is Alfred Tennyson Harris, sir." 

" You must be a new student this fall, aren't 
you, Harris? " 

" Yes, sir, I am. But I'm looking forward to 
this course; it's just " 

" Well, Harris," broke in Mr. Loring, " you may 
see too much of it before you get through the 

The instructor was a portly gentleman, with a 
shock of heavy coal-black hair and an habitually 
gloomy expression, who cherished an enthusiasm 
for literature which he hardly dared to disclose 
to his colleagues but which made him an inspira- 
tion in the classroom. His students, with char- 
acteristic irreverence, had named him " Dolly." 
He had been at Andover for fifteen years and 
boasted an acquaintance with every type of un- 
dergraduate, from the shameless bluffer to the in- 
corrigible " grind." Nothing ever astonished him 
very much. In this instance, however, he could 
not help looking up to see what manner of rara 
avis had entered his course. A glance at Oscar's 
ingenuous countenance sufficed to assure him that 
the lad was in earnest and not trying to be 
" fresh." He gestured to the nearest bench and 
returned to his computations. 


Oscar took a seat just under the teacher, where, 
as he fondly believed, his talent would not be 
ignored. Most of the others, he observed, had 
modestly selected places in the rear of the room, 
the consequence being that the front rows were 
nearly all vacant. Oscar was thus very much by 
himself; but he recognized in the far corners some 
fellows whom he had already met, — Steve Fisher, 
for example, and Joe Watson, whose huge bulk 
could not be mistaken. 

Waiting until the warning gong had rung at 
seven minutes past eight, Mr. Loring then greeted 
the class in a little talk, outlining for them the 
work proposed for the term, — some rhetoric, a lit- 
tle grammar, the study of English Literature, and 
the careful reading of Shakespeare's Hamlet, 

" But, sir,'' spoke up Oscar, after madly waving 
his hand in the air and being recognized, " IVe 
read Hamlet two or three times." 

The sophisticated old-settlers in the room tit- 
tered softly. This was an unexpected diversion! 
But Mr. Loring was not in the least disturbed. 

" We are indeed fortunate," he said in his dry 
way. " Doubtless we shall have frequent occasion 
to ask your opinion on the interpretation of diffi- 
cult passages." 


This time the boys could not restrain their 
laughter, and Oscar, a trifle disconcerted, had 
nothing more to say. The idea was penetrating 
his brain that any too obvious effort to attract a 
teacher's impression was simply not " good 
form." Watching for a few minutes, he noticed 
that most of the men were attending strictly to 
business, jotting down items in notebooks and 
going at their work seriously, but taking care not 
to become conspicuous. He began to regret that 
he had not picked a seat in a less public situation. 
Now he was a marked man. He would be set 
apart by the class as a " boot-licker " to be 
shunned like a leper, — a survival of the " nice " 
boy who, in grammar school, always brings ap- 
ples and flowers to the teacher. This incident 
gave Oscar food for reflection, and, in the end, was 
not unprofitable. 

Oscar had really no small gift for writing. As 
a youngster, he had been surrounded by good 
books and had read Robinson Crusoe and Gulli- 
ver's Travels ahnost before he was able to walk. 
Later he had devoured the historical stories of 
G. A. Henty. His mother had insisted on read- 
ing Scott and Dickens aloud to him, and he had 
even hunted out such authors as Smollett and 


Fielding. His latest idol had been Stevenson, 
whose novels, essays, and poems had fascinated 
him with their romantic charm. With this back- 
ground, he had acquired a keen appreciation of 
the best in literature, and was also able to write 
with some correctness and ease. His first theme, 
on the subject " My Generation," was so steeped 
in Max Beerbohm and Aldous Huxley that Mr. 
Loring could hardly credit his senses. " Why ! " 
he burst out to one of his colleagues, " here's a 
boy that looks like a comic character in a vaude- 
ville skit, but he writes prose like a young Oscar 
Wilde! I wish I knew who taught him his style.'' 
It was while he was still pathetically ignorant 
regarding the Andover code of conduct that Oscar, 
who cherished secret ambitions to become a poet, 
resolved one evening to call formally on the Head. 
Donning a dinner jacket as he would have done 
in London or Paris, he somehow slipped out of his 
dormitory without being observed by his neigh- 
bors, who, if they had seen him thus arrayed in 
purple and fine linen, would doubtless have stirred 
up a commotion. When he was ushered into the 
presence of the Head, Oscar was a little abashed, 
but conducted himself nevertheless with so much 
dignity that the older man was much puzzled as 


to' the identity of his well-dressed young visitor. 
Eventually concluding that the caller was a can- 
didate for a vacancy on the teaching staff, he said 
" Good-evening. I am glad to see you," and in- 
vited him to remove his coat and sit down. 

" Thank you, sir/' replied Oscar, who rose to 
the occasion with the bearing of one thoroughly 
accustomed to such treatment. 

The two sat for a moment, and the Head, to 
put his guest at ease, said, " Do you know, I'm 
afraid I didn't catch your name. I forget faces 
very easily; but somehow yours is familiar, al- 
though I can't quite place it." 

" I'm Alfred Tennyson Harris, sir," answered 
Oscar, a bit weakly, " and I'm a student in the 
senior class." 

"Well, well! " The Head burst into peals of 
laughter. "And I took you for a college gradu- 
ate! That's a good one, all right! Why, I had 
a talk with your mother only a few days ago and 
she told me all about you. And now, Harris, 
what can I do for you? " 

"Sir, I am ambitious to become a poet and 
should like to ascertain the best channels in this 
country for getting my verses known." 

" Ah ! " commented the Head. He was begin- 


ning to see what Oscar was like. "And no doubt 
you have already written something? '^ 

" I haven't composed very much yet, but I'm 
sure that I possess in some degree what has been 
described as the ' divine afflatus/ IVe read many 
volumes of poetry, and it's easy enough to do. 
But I must, of course, find a publisher before I 
can feel justified in devoting all my spare hours 
to literature." 

"Yes, that is supposed by many to be essen- 
tial,'' muttered the Head, stroking his chin 
thoughtfully. " But I should like to see a speci- 
men of your rhymes." 

" I don't work in rhymes, sir, but I have one or 
two little effusions with me," responded Oscar 
with alacrity, drawing a notebook from his pocket. 
Then, standing up and posing on the rug in front 
of the mantelpiece, he declaimed in a loud voice: 

** Winter, rough winter, I long for thee! 
Thou com'st like a leaping Newfoundland dog, 
With shaggy coat and rumbling growl, 
And bitest at my sombre cheek! " 

"Ah! " murmured the Head, almost inaudibly. 
"An unusual metrical form! Just what is the 
prevailing rhythm? " 

"There isn't any," replied Oscar, a little dis- 


countenanced. " It's vers lihre, — like the poems 
of Amy Lowell and Ezra Pound and John Gould 
Fletcher. Fletcher is an old Andover man, and 
my work is something like his." 

" Very like! Very like! " said the Head, as if 
absorbed in thought. "And did a Newfoundland 
dog ever bite your cheek? " 

" Oh, no, sir, that's a figure of speech, — what is 
called an hyperbole. Don't you recognize it? " 

" Surely ! Now that you direct my attention to 
the fact, I can see it all. And why do you use 
the word ' sombre '? " 

" It's just an adjective which I put in to in- 
dicate that I am sad." 

"Very sad! " said the Head, as if talking to 

" You see, sir, it's what's called technically an 
imagist poem. It is intended to stimulate the im- 
agination. Can't you just see winter leaping 
along and nipping people's ears? " 

" Yes, my imagination does carry me that far." 

" What ought I to do with this little sketch, 
sir? Shall I submit it to the school magazine? 
I'm ready to follow your suggestion." 

" I should use it to light a fire," said the Head, 
cruelly but honestly. " It's all tommy-rot! I'm 


sorry to tell you that it isn't poetry at all. It's 
drivel. You had better go back to your room and 
read some Keats or Tennyson. Or else stick to 
prose. You're on the wrong track here." 

"Don't you think that Houghton, Mifflin or 
some other publishers would accept a volume from 

" You might possibly be able to sell it to Judge 
or College Comics, But my candid counsel to you 
is to write essays. It seems to me that Mr. Loring 
told me that you had some promise in that field." 

In a minute or two more Oscar was out in the 
street, looking up at the silent stars and wishing 
that he had never been born. The faculty gave him 
no encouragement. They could not appreciate 
genius like his. When he returned to the dormi- 
tory he changed into his famous bathrobe and 
then dropped down on the second floor for a chat 
with " Bull " Taylor, a friend whom he had made 
within the last few days. Seeking for comfort, 
he divulged all the details of the affair to Bull, 
and ended by reading him the selection. 

" Gosh, that's terrible," said the stolid and tact- 
less Bull. "It's the worst I ever heard for a 

" Don't you think there's anything to it? " 


" I should say not. It doesn't even rhyme, and 
it hasn't any music to it at all. I'm surprised 
that the Head didn't shoot you on the spot. You 
ought to tear it up and forget all about poetry. 
Poets don't make any money, anyway." 

" I don't care about that. All I want is fame." 

" You won't get it from that stuff, old top. My 
advice to you is to tear it all up in small pieces 
and fill the waste-paper basket. You'll go 
' nutty ' if you keep on producing ' drool ' like 

Buirs language was far from Addisonian, but 
his derision accomplished something in the way 
of results. Before going to bed Oscar sat down at 
his desk, picked out all his manuscript poems, and 
burned them one by one. Had not Bull an- 
nounced that they were worthless? And Bull, 
whose grade for the previous year in English had 
been 42, probably never realized what a service to 
literature he had performed. 



Oscar's intimacy with Bull Taylor had been 
fostered by an unusual combination of circum- 
stances. Two or three weeks after school began 
the geometry instructor, Mr. Spire, had given a 
written test. It presented no diflSiculties to 
Oscar; but, when the period had closed, he ap- 
proached Mr. Spire's desk and said, " Sir, I don't 
know whether I ought to tell you or not, but a 
boy was looking on my paper and copying it all 
through the hour." 

Mr. Spire, who was only a few years out of 
college and still retained the spirit of his under- 
graduate days, almost shivered as he heard Oscar's 
words. A wise and kindly man, he had been en- 
trusted with many confidences, but never one of 
precisely this sort. He studied Oscar's face in 
order to learn the boy's motive. Finally he found 
strength to speak. 

"Are you trying to accuse one of your class- 
mates of cribbing? " 



" I thought, sir, that it would be only honor- 
able on my part to inform the authorities. It 
was " 

" Stop and think just a moment, Harris, before 
you go on. I don't want to put you in the posi- 
tion of reporting one of your fellow-students for 
an offense against the regulations. It isn't done 
here in Andover." 

" I beg your pardon, sir," said Oscar, after a 
moment's reflection. He was by no means obtuse, 
and he could see that he had blundered. " I had 
assumed that cribbing was a matter which any 
honest man was bound to report. I'm sorry. I 
am always making mistakes." And he turned 
and walked away, still not a little confused in his 

Oscar's perturbation was more natural than it 
perhaps seems to be. He well remembered a 
scene in Eric, or Little by Little in which one of 
the principal characters, having been bullied by 
an upper classman, promptly secured revenge by 
reporting his troubles to the Headmaster. Oscar 
would never have done this; but he did have a 
high sense of honor which made him wish to settle 
ethical problems in a right way. On his stroll 
back to Wendell Hall he wondered whom he could 


consult on the question. So far he had no inti- 
mate friends. Many of his neighbors in the dor- 
mitory and the classroom spoke to him as they 
passed on the campus, but nobody dropped in for 
a chat or sat down with him after a game to talk 
it over. Oscar felt keenly his isolation, — men of 
his sensitive type always do, — but he saw no fea- 
sible method of overcoming it. It was not that he 
did not wish to associate with others, for, with all 
his peculiarities, he was not at heart either proud 
or snobbish. It was simply that he did not know 
how to meet others on their level. 

Just below Oscar, on the second floor of Wendell 
Hall, roomed a fellow whom Oscar occasionally 
met in the corridor. He was registered in the 
catalogue as Emmet O'Brien Taylor, from Brook- 
lyn, but he was never called by any name except 
" Bull." Bull was certainly no Adonis. He was 
short, broad-shouldered, and red-haired, with a 
stubby nose and a mouth always open in a good- 
natured grin. His ordinary gait was a kind of 
slouch, his arms hanging as if he were ready at 
any moment for a fight. He had a special fond- 
ness for old and tattered garments, especially 
shirts and sweaters, some of which resembled 
museum relics. His speech had a kind of Bowery 


twang, and he said " woild " and " woik " just as 
naturally as Hal Manning said " cahn't " and 
" rahther." To put it mildly, Bull was a diamond 
in the rough. 

But with all these external eccentricities, Bull 
had a host of loyal friends. Most of the men 
who knew him realized that he was working his 
way through Andover by waiting on table in the 
" Beanery " and running a laundry agency. 
They had heard him tell vividly of the days when 
he had sold papers at one end of Brooklyn Bridge. 
His father and mother had died when he was 
small, and he had no family except an old uncle, 
who fed and clothed him in return for the money 
which the youngster could make by selling news- 
papers on the street. The boy had been helped 
by an Andover alumnus, who, attracted by his 
cheerful smile, had put him in a grammar school 
and had then sent him to the Head, with a letter 
describing his past. He had now been four years 
at Andover, and he was struggling hard for his 
diploma. It is an interesting fact that it was 
of Bull that Oscar first thought when he started 
out on his quest for information. 

So it was that, when the eight o'clock bell rang 
that evening and everybody, according to the 


academy regulations, was supposed to be engaged 
in study, Oscar descended to the floor below and 
knocked on Bull's door. 

" Come in, come in," a harsh voice shouted, and 
Oscar rather timidly turned the knob and peeked 

"Come in, you dodo," roared Bull, not yet 
aware who his caller was. "Don't stand there 
all night." 

"Will you allow me to talk with you for a 
brief period? " inquired Oscar, in a faltering man- 

" Sure, Mike! " responded Bull. " Blaze away! 
I'm a generous pup, I am! Got hours to burn! 
Sit down, Oscar, and tell me all your troubles." 

Oscar sat down gingerly on the edge of the 
chair which Bull shoved in his direction. 

" What's the matter? Afraid there's a spike in 
it? It's the only extra seat I've got, but I thought 
it was all right." 

"No, I'm not exactly frightened," said Oscar, 
smiling at Bull's remark. " I just don't want to 
bother you, that's all. And besides, I have an 
idea that you'll think I'm a fool." 

" Oh, what difference does it make? " replied 
Bull, beginning to comprehend Oscar's shyness. 


" I'm really not busy now. My Geometry for to- 
morrow's a * cinch/ and my Cicero is all done. 
I'm glad to see you, Oscar. Anything on your 
mind? " 

"Yes, there is," Oscar blurted out, gathering 
courage. " I know I'm queer, but I can't under- 
stand some of these school customs. You see, 
I've lived abroad for quite a few years, and I've 
always eaten and slept in hotels. I've hardly ever 
seen any fellows of my own age." 

" Gosh, what a life! " interjected Bull. " Didn't 
you hate it? " 

"Not so much then, t^ die it was going on. I 
didn't know any better. My mother and I were 
together most of the time, and there was usually 
a tutor around, — some Frenchman or Italian. Of 
course I forgot everything about the United 
States. And here I am in America, back in my 
own country, and everybody thinks I'm a freak. 
Somehow I don't fit in." 

" Oh, it's not so bad as all that. Give yourself 
a little time. You'll come through flying." 

" Well, here's a case, Bull." Regaining his self- 
confidence, Oscar settled back in the chair and 
explained the cribbing episode of the morning. 
" I hate," he went on, "to see anybody do a mean 


trick and not get caught. I just took it for 
granted that it was my duty to report the matter. 
I'd have done the same about a burglary. But 
it didn't take me long to see that I had committed 
a faux pas" 

" I don't know exactly what that is," answered 
Bull, " but whatever it is, you did it. You see, 
it's like this in Andover. The best fellows don't 
do any cribbing. You'll never find Joe Watson 
or Steve Fisher trying to get away with that kind 
of thing. But there can't help being some bad 
actors in any crowd of six hundred boys from all 
over the country. So? ^ of them do crib and 
aren't caught at it. Ihey're not the men who 
are respected, but nobody would ever tell on them. 
It's a queer phase of the honor question, I sup- 
pose, but there's a feeling that it isn't right to 
' blab ' on another man. The theory may be all 
wrong, but we all believe in it, even the ' profs.' 
That's why ' Benny ' Spire didn't want to listen 
to you. If he had ^ nailed ' the fellow himself, he 
would have had him ' fired ' ; but he didn't think 
it was good sportsmanship in you to furnish him 
with the evidence. Does that help to get you 
anywhere? " 

" I see the point," said Oscar, reflectively. 


" But it looks to me a good deal like compound- 
ing a felony." 

" There you are talking over my head again! " 
was Buirs reply. " But, anyhow, I'm sure that 
I shouldn't report anything like that. I should 
be ashamed to do it." 

"Well, perhaps the fellow will get found out 
some day." 

" He will; don't worry. It's only a question of 
time. He probably will be dropped before 

That little talk with Bull was the beginning of 
a staunch friendship between the two boys, — one 
fastidious, refined, and sensitive, the other rough, 
uncultured, and thick-skinned, but trying his hard- 
est to learn the ways of the world to which Oscar 
belonged. Bull recognized and respected in Oscar 
some qualities which he himself would have been 
glad to possess, — tact, self-control, and ease. Os- 
car, for his part, perceived in Bull a robustness 
and virility which he envied. It was not long 
before Oscar had Bull to defend him against any 
unwarranted attack, — and Bull was a supporter 
whose aid in a crisis was likely to be decisive. 
The two made a humorous contrast, especially 
when, as often happened, they went together to 


class, Oscar immaculate in a suit and overcoat 
made by Dunne, Bull in a gaudily colored lum- 
berman's jacket of an ancient vintage. 

Never having been subjected to a routine of 
any kind, Oscar was almost daily coming into 
conflict with some restriction of which he had not 
heard. In the first place, he neglected to secure 
his Blue Book, — a thin little volume codifying 
the academy rules and traditions and giving the 
"preps'' some excellent advice. On one bright 
morning after his English recitation Oscar started 
to walk down Main Street in order to get a check 
cashed at the bank. Before he had reached Mor- 
ton Street he was stopped by an older man, who 
said, " Look here, prep, what are you doing in this 
locality? Don't you know that you are forbidden 
to go down-town by way of Main Street? You 
must be a fresh one, all right ! " Having changed 
his course to Bartlet Street, he reached his desti- 
nation without any further interruptions; but, 
when he called at the Registrar's ofiice the next 
day, he found a " cut " recorded against his name 
for " being down-town without permission during 
study hours." Some teacher had seen and re- 
ported him, and he, of course, had not taken the 
precaution of securing an excuse from his " house- 


prof," Mr. Randall; indeed, the boy had not been 
aware that a signed excuse was required. When 
Oscar complained of injustice, the Registrar, Mr. 
Foxcroft, smiled blandly and said, as he had said 
in dozens of similar cases, " Ignorance of the law 

is no excuse." 

That evening Oscar went out of Wendell Hall 
at nine o'clock to mail a letter at the letter-box 
on the corner. He was absent only four or five 
minutes; but, during that period, " Weary " Ran- 
dall made an inspection of the dormitory, and, 
finding Oscar out of his room, put him down for 
another cut. A night or two later, hearing a fear- 
ful tumult in the corridor, Oscar naturally stepped 
out to investigate the cause of the commotion. 
As he stood idly watching a wrestling match 
which was going on among some of the smaller 
boys, Mr. Randall mounted the stairs in his bath- 
robe, his face flushed with indignation, and, catch- 
ing sight of Oscar, snapped out, " Go to your 
room, Harris, and consider that you've earned a 
demerit." When Oscar began to assert his inno- 
cence, Mr. Randall, who was in no mood for abso- 
lute justice, silenced him and proceeded to dis- 
cover and punish the real " rough-housers." Os- 
car, making another visit to the Registrar, found 


now that he had acquired a black mark, which 
could not be removed; and he was horror-stricken 
to learn that eight of these would mean his dis- 
missal from the school. Thus he found himself, 
almost before the term had started, with two 
" cuts " and one demerit, — from his point of 
view a shameful situation, although to Bull it 
seemed laughable. " Cuts " and demerits were 
no novelty to Bull. 

Worse than this, however, Oscar unwittingly- 
made himself seem to be defiant of school eti- 
quette. When the lad who sat next to him at the 
" Beanery,'' — as the Dining Hall was affection- 
ately and familiarly called, — asked him one after- 
noon to go up to watch the football practice, Os- 
car calmly announced that he had planned to read 
some French magazines, adding that he had no 
interest in football. After this astonishing state- 
ment, he was shunned as if he were a Bolshevist. 
But as soon as Oscar became acquainted with 
Bull Taylor, his mistakes commenced to decrease 
in number and in seriousness. He formed the 
habit of consulting Bull on any doubtful matters, 
and the latter^s knowledge and native common 
sense saved Oscar from many a ridiculous blunder. 

Some of Oscar's adventures were more amusing 


than important. Once, at the behest of Hal 
Manning, he called at the Chemical Laboratory 
to ask Mr. Lapham, the instructor, for a gallon 
of carbon monoxide to kill the ants in Phillips 
Hall. The teacher, after some searching inquiries, 
learned how the land lay and ordered Oscar to 
tell Hal to come himself. Hal, needless to say, 
did not appear, but he was later summoned to an 
interview with Mr. Lapham, from which he 
emerged a sadder and in some respects a wiser 

It was in accordance with a suggestion made 
by Mr. Lynton that Oscar had signed up at the 
" Beanery " instead of at one of the private 
boarding-houses. Mr. Lynton had explained that 
any new man ought to eat where he could become 
acquainted with a large number of fellows, — not 
in a private house, where there would be only a 
small group. The " Beanery " was a beautiful 
colonial brick building, more than a century old, 
surrounded by tall elms. The average under- 
graduate, however, saw little of its charm. To 
him it was a place where, three times a day, sev- 
eral hundred of his mates assembled to perform 
the function of eating, and which, during those 
periods, was alive with noise and activity, with 


student waiters rushing from table to table, and 
an atmosphere of " Finish as soon as you can! " 
Bull Taylor was one of the managers on the floor, 
having risen to this position of authority after 
long experience in other capacities. The food, 
although simple, was nourishing, and there was 
plenty of it. It was, from the hygienic stand- 
point, exactly suited to the young animals who 
were there to be fed. 

Oscar, however, had been accustomed to some- 
what different fare. In Paris he and his mother 
had usually dined at restaurants like Voisin's and 
Foyot's, famous for their cuisine. It was a sharp 
descent from fillet of beef, crepe suzette, and 
French pastry to baked beans and brown bread, 
shredded wheat, and apple pie. Mrs. Harris had 
directed him to complain to the authorities if he 
was not satisfied; and once, when the menu had 
not been particularly appealing, he walked into 
the office of Mr. Slater, the Academy Treasurer, 
who was responsible for the Dining Hall manage- 
ment. Mr. Slater was beloved by everybody in 
Andover because of his sympathy and kindness, 
and it seemed to devolve upon him always to pour 
oil upon the troubled waters. Wherever there 
was dissension or irritability among the faculty 


his services were indispensable, and his diplomacy 
was a valuable asset to the school. He was in- 
variably one of the first to be sought out by re- 
turning alumni, and the boys delighted to call at 
his hospitable home. 

When Oscar introduced himself, Mr. Slater re- 
ceived him cordially. " I knew your father, 
' Tom ' Harris, very well indeed," he said. " He 
was a member of my society here and at Yale, 
and, although he was younger than I, I used to 
meet him often. He was a mighty fine athlete. 
If you take after him, you'll make your mark at 

" I'm afraid that I don't, sir," replied Oscar, for 
once much ashamed of his undeveloped muscles 
and unimpressive physique. " I have never had 
a chance to do anything in outdoor games." 

" That's too bad," answered Mr. Slater, taking 
a look at Oscar's narrow chest and thin legs. 
"Perhaps we can get you into athletics before 
long. You must call at my house some time and 
talk it over with me. But that will come later. 
What can I do for you just now? " 

" Well, I hate to be a kicker," went on Oscar, 
after a little pause of embarrassment, " but I did 
want to speak about the food at the * Beanery.' " 


"At the 'Beanery'! What's the matter with 
the food there? Most of the boys seem to thrive 
on it all right." 

" It may be good enough for some people, but 
it doesn't seem very appetizing to me." 

" Suppose you be perfectly frank and tell me a 
few of your criticisms, won't you? Perhaps I can 
institute a reform." 

" Well, to begin with, they never give us any 
hors-d'oeuvres or salad." 

"No hors-d'oeuvres or salad!" echoed the 
amazed Mr. Slater. 

" Not a bit ! And we don't get any light flaky 
pastry such as I have been used to." 

" Anything else? " asked the Treasurer. 

" Well, they never serve us any except the com- 
mon ordinary kinds of jellies; and the cream for 
breakfast isn't as thick as I should like to have it." 

It took very strong provocation to rouse Mr. 
Slater to anger, but he was obviously on the verge 
of committing homicide. 

" Look here, young man," he finally said, in a 
voice which he found it difficult to control. " You 
evidently think that you are living at the Ritz. 
Don't you realize that, at the price which you 
pay, we can't afford to provide you with alligator 


pears and artichokes? Furthermore, can't you 
understand that such delicacies are not what the 
average young man wants or ought to have? The 
boys in this school are building up their bodies. 
They should have simple food, like beef and pota- 
toes and bread and butter. Why, look at you, my 
lad ! If you had been brought up on oatmeal and 
steak, you would be a stronger fellow to-day. 
That's your trouble. You've had too much lux- 
ury all your life." 

" Maybe you're right," said Oscar, with a sickly 
grin on his face. Nobody had ever talked to him 
like this before. He was beginning to see that he 
had been a fool. 

" You go back to the Dining Hall, Harris, and 
eat the food there until Christmas. If you have 
lost any weight by then, I'll see that you're trans- 
ferred somewhere else. But suppose you try it 

" I guess I've learned a lesson, Mr. Slater," an- 
swered Oscar, with just a note of discouragement 
in his voice. " Sometimes I think that I spend 
most of my time discovering how big a jackass a 
fellow can be.'* 

" That's what this school is for, my boy," re- 
sponded Mr. Slater, rising and putting his hand 


sympathetically on Oscar's shoulder. " Just come 
always and tell me out in the open when you have 
anything to object to, and we'll try to adjust it. 
Only I don't want you fellows going around and 
complaining without letting me hear it. I'm re- 
sponsible for the ' Beanery/ as you call it, and I 
try to have things right there. And now that I've 
preached my sermon, you'll drop in again, won't 

" I certainly will, sir, if you'll let me. And I 
want to apologize for taking up so much of your 

" That's all right. Come in again." And Mr. 
Slater was left with another anecdote to add to 
his collection of Andover stories. 

To Oscar, this was merely another one of the 
train of incidents which caused him to do some 
deep meditating. Those narrow-minded people 
who believe that education is derived solely from 
text-books will perhaps not understand Oscar's 
case. There was nothing slow about his mind, 
and, once a lesson was impressed upon him, he did 
not forget it. As a result primarily of observation, 
he acquired that stoicism which should be the nec- 
essary equipment of any strong man, either in 
school or in life. He learned better than to com- 


plain of food or lesions or rough treatment. 
When jokes were perpetrated at his expense, he 
merely smiled good-naturedly in reply; and be- 
fore very long he had developed a brand of rep- 
artee which won him something of a reputation. 
The trouble was that his whole past, — eighteen 
years of it, — had been occupied with the formation 
of habits from which it was not now easy to break 
away. It was hard to avoid ordering the "-Dean- 
ery" waiters around; but when he watched one 
of them, a stalwart football-player, administer 
corporal chastisement to a fresh " prep," Oscar 
saw in which direction discretion lay. It was an 
ordeal to get accustomed to soft collars and lounge 
clothes and knickerbockers; it was not easy to 
acquire the slang, — or, as his rhetoric book put it, 
the " localisms," — which he heard all around him; 
and the classroom instruction, carried on by sar- 
castic instructors, seemed to him relentless. But 
little by little he went through that process of ad- 
justment to new surroundings which is always 
difficult, whether with animals or human beings; 
and by Christmas he felt himself to be part of 
the school. 

It was Bull Taylor, after all, who had been his 
chief teacher, and Oscar recognized the obliga- 


tion; but he saw that it would not be good form 
to say much about it. One evening Bull, in a lazy 
mood, picked up a copy of Oscar's Eric, or Little 
by Little, which was lying on the table. Sud- 
denly he burst into loud laughter. " Look here," 
he roared. " Just listen to this: 

" ^ They sat down on a green bank just beyond 
the beach, and watched the tide come in, while 
the sea-distance was crimson with the glory of 
evening. The beauty and the murmur filled them 
with a quiet happiness, not untinged with the 
melancholy thought of parting the next day. 

" ^ At last Eric broke the silence. " Russell, 
let me always call you Edwin, and call me Eric." 

" * " Very gladly, Eric. Your coming here has 
made me so happy." And the two boys squeezed 
each other's hands, and looked into each other's 
faces, and silently promised that they would be 
loving friends forever.' 

"Did you ever listen to any such bunk as 
that! " he shouted, as he threw the book at Os- 
car's head. "That author knows boy nature, 
doesn't he? I'd like to talk with him about half 
an hour and tell him a few things from my busy 
young life." 

"Yes, he certainly writes mush," answered 
Oscar. "And the funny part of it is that I once 
believed all that he wrote." 


" It^s queer, isn't it? " said Bull, in a meditative 
mood not very common with him. " Here I am, 
just grown up out of the streets. I never was in 
Europe and probably never shall be. I never 
have had a room in a decent hotel, and the only 
theatres IVe ever been in have been movie pal- 
aces. Sometimes IVe actually had to go without 
food for twenty-four hours, and once I slept on a 
bench in Central Park. IVe really never known 
what luxury is. And here you are, a pampered 
pet, with everything you could possibly want. 
It's strange that I should be here sitting in your 
room. You don't realize how strange it is; you 

"And yet you have gotten much more out of 
life than I have," interposed Oscar. "You 
learned somehow to take care of yourself and get 
along with other people. And here I am, just 
what you call a common ' dub/ without any hope 
for the future. I'd change places with you any 

" Not if you knew the facts," was Bull's reply. 
"Anyhow, we could never have become friends in 
any other school that I know of." 

" I'm not so sure," answered Oscar. " Don't 
you remember what Kipling says: 


** *For there shall be neither East nor West, nor bor- 
der, nor breed, nor birth, 
When two strong men stand face to face, though 
they come from the ends of the earth.' " 

"Well, we're the two strong men, all right," 
was Buirs jocular comment. "And we do come 
almost from the ends of the earth, — Paris, France, 
and Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn! Let's pray that 
Kipling had the right dope! " 



Because Oscar had been a rather delicate baby, 
he had seldom been permitted by his adoring 
mother to join in competitive sports with other 
boys. It is almost literally true that he had 
never, until he reached Andover, seen a football 
game or watched a race upon the cinder track. 
He had done some swimming at the Lido and 
Deauville, and he had learned how to play a skil- 
ful game of billiards; but his progress as an ath- 
lete had gone no farther than this. The mere 
thought of violent physical exercise was abhorrent 
to him, simply because he had come to think of 
his body as irreparably weak and useless. He had 
tested the effects of many brands of pills and 
tonics, but he had never lifted a weight nor 
pounded a punching-bag. It must be confessed 
also that he had formed the cigarette habit and 
smoked surreptitiously, concealing the odor by a 
judicious use of peppermint lozenges. 

Thus, while he had been advancing mentally 


ahead of most lads of his age, he was physically 
very much their inferior. His muscular father, 
who had been the most daring plunging halfback 
of his time, would have been discouraged if he had 
lived to see his only son. Unfortunately Mrs. 
Harris had early arrived at the conviction that 
Alfred Tennyson was a confirmed invalid, who 
was doomed to ill health for the remainder of his 
days and who must be carefully watched if his life 
were to be spared. She took every precaution to 
be sure that his feet did not get wet or his neck 
become chilled. The only noticeable result was 
that he passed each winter through a series of 
colds and other infections, hardly recovering from 
one before he contracted another. It is no won- 
der that the boy looked forward to a New England 
winter with dread. 

Shortly after the recitation work started, there 
was issued in chapel one morning a call for all 
new students to report at the Gymnasium for 
physical examination and classification. Oscar, 
having learned enough by this time to obey in- 
structions, appeared punctually at the designated 
place, where he was told to remove his clothes. 
Three months before, Oscar would have looked 
upon this as an indignity, but he was now less 


sensitive, and he was soon standing in a line, 
awaiting his turn for inspection. As his eyes fell 
upon some of those near him, he was amazed to 
note how muscular and athletic many of them 
looked to be. Glancing shyly down at his own 
flabby biceps and attenuated legs, he felt for the 
first time in his life a twinge of self-pity. Up to 
this moment in his career he had never devoted 
a thought to physical strength, — ^' brute force" 
his mother would have called it, — ^but now he was 
getting a hint as to how important a factor it 
might be in life. There were, of course, a few 
boys around him who were weaklings; but, being 
no fool, he could see that he was far below the 
average lad of his age in development, and he 
suddenly felt a desire to be healthy and strong, as 
most of them obviously were. Although he did 
not appreciate it then, that desire was a turning- 
point in his evolution into manhood. 

When his turn in the line was reached. Dr. 
Rogers, the Physical Director, looked up at him 
from his desk. He was a man of medium stature, 
with a black moustache and hair, very quick in 
his gestures and direct in his manner. Oscar in- 
stinctively felt that he would stand no nonsense. 

^^Well, young man," he said, "you have not 


overworked yourself at regular exercise, have 
you? " 

" No, sir, I fear that I have been neglectful of 
myself in that respect. No one can regret it 
more than I." 

A little astonished at Oscar's maturity of 
speech, the physician asked him some searching 
questions about his ancestry, his previous mode 
of living, and his accidents and diseases. Oscar 
explained with complete frankness just what kind 
of a sheltered existence he had led, and Dr. Rogers 
displayed much interest in his story. He then 
put the boy through a thorough examination of 
his heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, ears, and feet, 
called one of his assistants and had Oscar weighed 
and measured, and saw that all the details were 
accurately recorded on a large yellow card. Then, 
after glancing over the statistics, he spoke to him 
in a manner which Oscar never forgot : 

" Harris, so far as I can find out, you're abso- 
lutely sound physically; in fact, you have evi- 
dently inherited a frame which might make you 
an athlete. The trouble is that you have refused 
to give your body a fair chance. You have eaten 
unwisely, pampered yourself when you should 
have been out in the woods hunting or fishing. 


and smoked altogether too much, — ^you should not 
smoke at all. If you had taken any systematic 
exercise whatever, you wouldn't be the poor soft 
thing you are to-day. There are boys in that 
line two or three years younger than you who 
could lay you on your back in a minute. It's a 
shame that a fellow with such a fine start as you 
have had should have become what you are now. 
But then there's no good in dreaming about what 
might have been." 

" Isn't there some treatment I can follow to put 
myself in good condition? I'm willing to try 

" Yes, there is still hope. Fortunately you look 
as if you had some intelligence, and you evidently 
realize where you stand and are ambitious to im- 
prove. That's a good share of the battle. The 
main thing for the present is to stay outdoors all 
you can, stop smoking, and breathe plenty of 
fresh air. I'm going to assign you to the walking 
squad for a while, and that will give you a start." 

" What is the walking squad, sir? " 

" It's made up of boys who are not in condition 
to go out for games, like soccer and football. 
They take cross-country walks with one of my 
assistants four times a week." 


" But, sir, I don't want to be assigned to an 
aggregation of cripples. I'll work day and night 
to make myself strong, indeed I will.'' 

^' There's only one straight road to health, 
Harris, and that is through systematic daily ex- 
ercises. They ought to build you up rather 
rapidly, especially if you will quit smoking abso- 
lutely, eat sensible food, and give yourself plenty 
of sleep." 

"Is it not possible, sir, to take some extra 
exercises in my own room? " 

" Certainly, if you like. I can give you a 
whole series. Only you must be careful not to go 
too fast, for, if you do, you may injure yourself 
permanently. It took you quite a while to get 
yourself into this condition, you know, and it may 
be some weeks before you feel the results. Every- 
thing depends on the determination and persist- 
ence which you show. It's lucky for you that 
you have no organic weakness." 

Oscar thanked Dr. Rogers and left the Gym- 
nasium with an inflexible resolution to make 
himself physically strong. His decision was 
bolstered up by an incident which occurred that 
evening in Wendell Hall. He came back to his 
room after dinner to find that his entire door had 


disappeared, having been removed from its hinges 
and carried away during his absence. All his be- 
longings were, of course, open to inspection by 
every passer-by. Oscar was gazing rather dis- 
consolately at the sight and wondering what he 
could do to seclude himself from the public, when 
he heard a soft chuckle. Turning around, he saw 
a small stockily-built youngster named Carl 
Woodward grinning at him from the stairs. 

" You little ruffian," shouted Oscar, in a tone 
which his mother would have thought decidedly 
unrefined. " You did this. You bring that door 
back or I'll break your neck. Right away, too! " 
For once his equanimity was really disturbed. 

" Come on, four eyes! " cried the boy tauntingly 
in a shrill voice. " You couldn't hurt a flea! " 

Enraged at this open defiance, Oscar, forgetting 
all discretion, rushed at his mocker, only to find 
him supported by a group of gleeful youngsters, 
all dancing up and down and thumbing their 
noses at him in derision. When he darted at 
Carl, they jumped at him and threw him to the 
floor, where he lay panting, with Carl perched 
triumphantly on his chest. Meanwhile a crowd 
of the older men in the dormitory had gathered, 
drawn by the cheers of the victors, and were gaz- 


ing with amusement at the sight. Oscar's spec- 
tacles had fallen off, his hair was in disorder, and 
collar and necktie were askew; and the worst of 
it was that he could not possibly get up, no matter 
how frantically he struggled. He was like Gulliver 
captured by the Lilliputians. Even as he lay 
there helpless, he could not help thinking what 
Bull Taylor would have done under similar cir- 
cumstances. Here he was, at least two years 
older than any one of his tormentors and a good 
deal taller; yet he could do nothing to defend 
himself. He could have wept in sheer anger and 

" Look here, four eyes," said Carl, who, in spite 
of his five feet, six inches, was a well-knit and 
muscular lad who played end on his club eleven. 
"I'll fight you alone if these others will keep 

"Hooray! Hooray! Fight! Fight! " shouted 
the ecstatic bystanders, eager to promote the 

"Let him up, Carl," said Joe Watson, who 
happened to be in the dormitory on a visit to a 
friend. "If there's going to be any fight, I'll 
arrange for it." 

Carl stood up, with his friends around him. 


Then Oscar struggled to his feet, a dejected figure 
with his shirt pulled out and blood on his face 
from a scratch over his eye. The spectators 
waited expectantly to hear what he had to say. 

" Do you want to fight Carl, Oscar? '^ inquired 
Joe Watson hopefully. 

" No," responded Oscar, as if bewildered. " I 
guess not." 

"Coward! Coward!" jeered the small boys, 
disappointed of their fun. Oscar was just about 
to rouse himself to action when there was a sud- 
den calm, and he looked up to see Mr. Randall 
approaching. He had heard the tumult, and had 
rushed up to quell the riot. 

As the members of the gathering saw him com- 
ing, a few of those on the edges attempted to steal 
nonchalantly off, as if the whole affair were none 
of their business. The presence of an instructor 
on such an occasion is always a trifle disconcert- 
ing, and no one feels exactly at ease. Mr. Ran- 
dall's entrance had been decidedly dramatic. 

" This is a fine mess, gentlemen," he said iron- 
ically, looking first at the little fellows and then 
at Oscar's sad visage. " Go to your rooms at 
once. You come with me, Harris. As for you, 
Watson, I should think that, as a member of the 


Student Council, you would have enough decency 
not to encourage a scene like this." 

Joe, much abashed, muttered something which 
was inaudible; but there was really nothing for 
him to say. Making the best of an unpleasant 
predicament, he slimk off, accompanied by two or 
three other seniors who had come in his train. 
When Steve Fisher heard of Joe's part in the af- 
fair and of his ludicrous exit, he did not let him 
forget it for a long, long time. 

Oscar obediently followed Mr. Randall back to 
his own room, where he changed his shirt and 
collar and then, rather incoherently, told his tale. 

" I'll put that gang of rascals all on room pro- 
bation at once," said the instructor. There were 
moments during the recital when he had to bite 
his lip to keep from laughing out loud, but he 
controlled himself and tried to preserve his ortho- 
dox pedagogical severity. 

" Oh, please don't, sir, please don't ! " begged 
Oscar appealingly. " It was my fault really. If 
I had not been such a poor excuse for a man, 
they would have been afraid to do it. What hurts 
me most is that I should have let myself be 
beaten by a crowd of much smaller boys. And 
then I didn't dare to fight. I'm a noble figure, I 


am! " And then, a new idea in his mind, he went 
on, " Just wait for two months! I'll show them 
then! I'll get my revenge yet! " 

"Very well! Just as you say, Harris! Only 
I can't have any more mob scenes like this. If 
you can adjust the matter between you, I won't 
say a word. But I will make sure that the door 
is put bsujk again by to-morrow morning." With 
this, he left Oscar to his unhappy cogitations. 

Oscar did not sleep much that night; but, when 
he rose the next day, he was a person animated 
by one dominating motive. Like a man afflicted 
with monomania, he became the most assiduous 
devotee of physical exercise in Andover. He 
found in a magazine the advertisement of a pro- 
fessional strong man, which read as follows: 

" There is nothing else like my method, and 
there is nothing else that will as quickly or surely 
give you the big, bulging muscles and crushing 
strength that every red-blooded man wants. 
. . . I drive heavy nails through many layers 
of oak and iron with my bare hands. I am able 
to bend heavy steel bars into carefully worked 
designs. I perform feats of strength that aston- 
ish thousands with the sheer power of muscle that 
my system has given me; and this same method 
can give the same power to you." 

For weeks his mail was filled with the circulars 


of bare-torsoed giants, with huge knotted mus- 
cles and superhuman power, who guaranteed to 
transform bedridden invalids into Samsons within 
three months. His etchings of cathedrals were 
stowed away in a closet and replaced by framed 
photographs of great athletic heroes, like Paavo 
Nurmi, "Babe'' Ruth, "Jack" Dempsey, and 
Sandow. He purchased every conceivable va- 
riety of instrument for body development, and 
his room became a small gymnasium. To the 
music of a phonograph, he took one "daily 
dozen '' when he got up and another series before 
he went to bed. He laid out a schedule of diet, 
in which beefsteak, oatmeal, and raw eggs had a 
prominent place. During his vacant periods he 
haunted the Gymnasium, where he swung Indian 
clubs and dumbbells and pestered Dr. Rogers 
with questions on anatomy and hygiene. Four 
times a week he went reluctantly with the walk- 
ing squad on hikes to Pomp's Pond or Prospect 
Hill, and was visibly annoyed when the pace was 
slow or the walk not long enough to suit him. 
Each night he went to bed tired but happy, and 
he was delighted to observe how well he was feel- 
ing. His studies did not suffer, for, as has been 
intimated, he was so quick at books that he 


needed to spend very little time on his prepara- 

Oscar, moreover, ceased to read "highbrow" 
magazines and the English classics and took up 
stories of the " great open spaces," where '' men 
are men," — books by Jack London and Rex 
Beach and Stewart Edward White, — books in 
which members of the Northwestern Mounted 
Police travel hundreds of miles on snowshoes 
through the frozen wilderness in quest of a crim- 
inal, struggling on even when they are afflicted 
by snow-blindness and weakened by scurvy, and 
finally bringing the victim back to Moose Factory 
to be punished. He bought tales of the prize 
ring, like Jack London's The Game and Conan 
Doyle's The Croxley Master and Rodney Stone. 
He read Dibble's Life oj John L. Sullivan and 
Corbett's The Lure of the Croiod. What he 
wanted most now was " he-man " stuff, in which 
exhibitions of moral and physical courage were 
described. He used to dream that he, Alfred 
Tennyson Harris, was a trapper or a cowboy or 
a frontier desperado, indifferent to pain and un- 
afraid of any rival. Bull Taylor used to laugh 
when Oscar told him some of these stories, but 
Oscar always ended up by saying, " Bull, I tell 


you it's terrible to realize how helpless a man is 
unless he has a strong body. He is at the mercy 
of any bandit. Anybody can do anything to him 
he wants to.'' 

" Even a little chap like Carl Woodward, I sup- 
pose! " chuckled Bull, who could see what was 
going on in Oscar's brain. 

"Yes, even Carl," admitted Oscar, without 
smiling. " But it won't always be that way with 
me. Just feel that triceps, Bull! Don't you 
think that it's getting larger? " 

And Bull, who had been making similar in- 
spections daily, had to admit that Oscar was 
profiting by his course of instruction. He even 
was led to take an interest in football, and, on the 
morning of the big game with Exeter, he was just 
as nervous as Bull, who was one of the players. 
When the Andover eleven, on a slippery field, 
won from their rivals by a score of forty to noth- 
ing, Oscar almost went wild; and at the celebra- 
tion in the evening, he insisted on being one of 
those to draw the triumphal car in which Steve 
Fisher, Joe Watson, Bull Taylor, and the other 
heroes of the day were borne in glory through 
the Andover streets. But all this has been told 
elsewhere, and need not be recounted again here. 


Just before Thanksgiving the regular tramps of 
the walking squad were abandoned for the term, 
and Oscar formed the habit of taking long runs 
into the country along the woodland trails. One 
afternoon he happened to be passed by the cross- 
country squad on one of their practice jaunts, and 
he fell in behind the last man, wondering how 
long he could keep up. To his satisfaction, he 
found that the pace was not at all too fast for 
him, and he followed them without difficulty until 
they reached the Gymnasium, having covered at 
least three miles. As soon as the runners dis- 
persed, Oscar went up to Kid Wing, the Cross- 
country Captain, and asked him whether he could 
join the squad. Wing was a tall, rangy fellow, 
probably not far from twenty, who had won many 
prizes for distance running. Oscar had never 
spoken to him before. 

" What's your name? " demanded Kid, looking 
critically at the slender, spectacled figure before 

"Harris! Fm a *prep,' in the senior class." 
" Have you ever done any running? " 
" No, not a bit. But they put me on the walk- 
ing squad, and this afternoon I happened to fall 
in behind your cross-country bunch. I didn't 


have much trouble keeping up, and I'd like to try 
going along with you some time/' 

" It's all right so far as I am concerned," an- 
swered Kid, noting with approval the length of 
the candidate's legs and his probable chest ex- 
pansion. "But you'll have to get permission 
from Doc Rogers, you know." 

As soon as he had taken a cold bath and a dive 
into the pool, Oscar called at Dr. Rogers's office 
in a small room near the entrance to the Gym- 

" So it's you again, Harris? What's the trou- 
ble now? " The " Doc " had begun to wonder 
why this boy had such an abnormal interest in 
all forms of physical development. 

" Sir, I should like to go out for the cross- 
country team. The walking squad is over for the 
term, and I am sure that I can keep up with the 

" Let me look you over a bit," replied the phy- 
sician, who really had a kindly interest in Oscar's 
case. He hunted out the boy's yellow record 
blank, glanced at the date, and then examined 
his heart and lungs with the stethoscope. His 
next step was to bring out a tape measure and jot 
down some of the new measurements of his chest 


and arms. " Well, Harris/' he said, after a study 
of the comparative figures, "you have unques- 
tionably made a marvellous improvement, — 
greater than I ever believed to be possible. You 
are actually a different lad from what you were 
six weeks ago. If you have your heart set on 
running, there's no reason why you shouldn't go 
out with Kid Wing and his squad. But you don't 
want to start in too strenuously. It's just as dan- 
gerous to overdo as it is to loaf. Remember 

" I'll try to keep that in mind, sir." And Oscar 
rushed down the steps of the Gymnasium, the 
happiest man on the Hill. He ran into Bull's 
room, threw his " prep " cap into the air, and 
shouted, " Hooray, Bull, I'm on the cross-country 
squad. It's come at last." 

" I don't see that that's anything to make such 
a big noise about," replied Bull calmly. " I sup- 
pose you're glad, and all that, but I don't see ex- 
actly why. It's going to be a lot of hard plugging, 
without much reward. Those fellows have to 
work, you know." 

"That's just what Tm after. Bull, my boy," 
exclaimed Oscar, in a mood which would have 
astonished his mother. " I want hard work, rav- 


aging, gruelling, exhausting toil! It's wonder- 
ful! " 

"All right! All right! " muttered Bull, who 
regarded such exuberance with cynicism. " Only 
don't blame me when they have to carry you in 
from Martin's Pond." 

" They won't have a chance, Bull. I can keep 
up with them. I did to-day." And then he told 
Bull with some pride about his afternoon's ad- 
venture. ^ 

On the next afternoon when the squad was 
ready to start, Oscar reported to Kid Wing, who 
simply said, " Good, I'm glad you're here. Now 
you must see how long you can stand the pace. 
jf^ust follow the crowd, but fall out if the distance 
seems too long for you. You're only beginning, 
you know, and it won't do to get tuckered out the 
first day. It's no disgrace to walk in." 

Oscar discreetly made no reply, but he inwardly 
resolved that he would run until he dropped. As 
the squad started out, with Larry Spear, the as- 
sistant track coach at the head, Oscar fell into 
line, clad only in a sweater and running trunks, 
although the air was crisp and cold. In long, even 
strides they took a route out Salem Street, then 
over a fence and a stone wall into a woodland 


path. Soon Oscar could feel himself breathing 
hard, but his legs continued to move rhythmically 
with the others. There came a fearful moment 
when it seemed as if he could go no farther; but 
he summoned up his will-power and kept on, un- 
til there came to him, as if by some magic gift, 
that mysterious power called " second wind," and 
his courage revived. As they swung into a hard 
road again, he drew nearer to the front, noticing 
with some satisfaction that two or three of the 
men who had led at first were now fatigued. Soon 
the Memorial Tower came in sight, and Larry 
Spear accelerated the pace, making a sprint for 
home. Oscar followed him and Kid Wing, pass- 
ing several others as he ran, and, when they ar- 
rived at the Gymnasium porch, there were only 
three ahead of him, — Larry, Kid Wing, and Bar- 
ney Wright, one of the mile-runners on the track 

As he reached the steps, Larry and Kid turned 
to see who were next among the survivors. 

" Great Scott! " puffed Larry, as he saw Oscar's 
face. "Here's a new man. Who are you, any- 
way? " 

" I'm Harris, — just joined the squad." 

" Well, that was a pretty hot pace for a green- 


horn. I guess you've got the stuff in you, all 
right. Come and talk with me some time about 

" Thank you, sir, I will," replied Oscar, be- 
tween deep breaths. 

"Aren't you tired? " inquired Kid Wing. 

"Not yet," answered Oscar. "I could go a 
little longer, I think." 

" Well have to investigate you a little, Harris," 
went on Kid. "Can't you drop around to my 
room in Phillips to-night for a talk? ^I'd like to 
pry a little into your past." 

" Sure, I'll come," replied Oscar, too happy to 
say more. As he shivered under the piercing nee- 
dles of the icy shower a few minutes later, he 
wanted to burst into song. He was positive now 
that he could run. With the assurance that 
comes ultimately to every genuine athlete, he 
knew that he could be successful on the track, 
always assuming that he could develop his 
physique and secure the proper training. He rev- 
elled in the wholesome joy which is likely to ani- 
mate any man who sees his cherished dreams 
about to be realized. 

Kid Wing lived, as he said, in Phillips Hall, 
one of the oldest structures on the Hill, dating 


back to the opening of the nineteenth century. 
In this dormitory and its companion building, 
Bartlet Hall, most of the leaders of the school 
had their quarters. On its grassy terrace, the 
seniors exercised their treasured privilege of out- 
door smoking, and here, in the springtime, could 
be found those little groups of talkative idlers 
which, in any school, undertake to settle all the 
urgent problems of local and national affairs. 
Phillips Hall was, in a sense, a rallying point for 
the older undergraduates, and here most of the 
schemes for student government were hatched. 
Our old friend, Hal Manning, Managing Editor 
of the Phillipian, had a room directly across from 
Kid Wing's, on the third floor. They were cen- 
trally located, for the Auditorium was only a few 
feet away, and the Main Building was just be- 
yond that. For economy of effort and time, a 
room in Phillips or Bartlet Halls was highly de- 
sirable. " Some day," Kid used to say to Hal 
Manning, " they'll run tunnels from Phillips over 
to George Washington Hall and the Main Build- 
ing, and we won't have to go out into the air 
except to eat. Then life here will be worth 

" When that happens," commented Hal, " this 


place will be a home for aged men, and I don't 
want anything to do with it." 

In Kid's room that evening Oscar gazed not 
without envy at the long array of silver cups on 
the mantelpiece. 

" I'd give my front teeth to be able to win races 
the way you do! " he said, when he had taken a 
comfortable seat overlooking the main campus, 
and the lights of the houses in the distance. 

" It's mostly a matter of practice, Harris. You 
have a fairly good build, and, so far as I can see, 
you're honestly ambitious. What youVe got to 
do now is to ask Larry Spear, the coach, to tell 
you how to run so that you can utilize every ounce 
of strength. That's the only way of developing 
into a distance runner." 

" Had you done any racing before you came 
here? " 

"Had I? I hadn't done anything else! I 
come, you see, from a little village out in central 
New York, — ^Waterville, they call it, — and I used 
to live near a park. Every afternoon as soon as 
school closed some of us kids would have races 
around the outside of that park. I'll bet I've run 
around it ten thousand times. I can remember 
plugging and plugging until it seemed as if my 


lungs would cave in, but somehow I learned to 
run. Luckily I had a stride that was naturally 
fairly good, and I didn't pick up any very bad 

" I suppose you were on the school track team 
in your village," said Oscar, with a query in his 

" Yes, I must have been," answered Kid remi- 
niscently. " Should you like to hear about my 
first race on a real track? " 

" I certainly should," replied Oscar eagerly. 

" I didn't win, you know, — ^far from it! " 

" How was that? " 

"Well, here goes for the yarn! " began Kid, 
encouraged by the receptiveness of his audience. 
" You see, Waterville is a small village rather off 
the main line, and there had never been a track 
meet there. But I was in high school with a group 
of enterprising rascals who were always trying to 
start something new. One of us went to a college 
track meet and came back to tell the rest about 
it; so we wrote immediately to some schools in 
towns near by, — Clinton and Clayville, — and per- 
suaded them to agree to join us. We had in 
Waterville an abandoned half-mile dirt track, — 
a survival of the days when trotting races were 


popular, — and it was the logical place for the 

"A lot of the nervy youngsters, — VLeaky' 
Terry, Harry Yale, Charlie Coggeshall, and 
' Stew ' Mayer, — ^went around among the local 
merchants asking them to donate prizes, with the 
result that we accumulated quite a collection of 
lamps and knives and other such articles. When 
our committee met, we agreed that each one of 
us should have the privilege of choosing the prize 
for the event in which he was going to take part, 
— and which, of course, he thought he was going 
to win. Now I was out for the 220-yard dash, 
and, seeing a beautiful collapsible umbrella among 
our gifts, I selected that as the prize for my event. 
And so it was put up in one of the store windows 
with a big sign on it, ' First Prize, 220-yard dash.* 
I used to stop to look at it every morning on my 
way to school and could hardly wait till it would 
be mine. You see, it never entered my head that 
I could possibly lose. 

" Well, the day of the big meet came, and the 
fellows from Clinton and Clayville arrived in 
Waterville, all in barges, waving pennants and 
tooting horns. There was a tremendous crowd at 
the race-track, for most of the townspeople were 


there and we took in a lot of money at the gate. 
When I came out for the 220, I saw a lanky boy 
with ' Clinton ' in red letters across his shirt, and 
he looked as if he could go like greased lightning. 
After one glance, I knew I should lose the um- 
brella if I didn't take precautions. 

" The starter, Ernie Camp, was one of my clos- 
est pals, and I called him aside to talk the situa- 
tion over. Finally we agreed on a plan which, as 
I see it now, was absolutely shameless; but you 
see we hadn't arrived at any moral sense in such 
matters as races. Our theory was, ' Anything to 
win! ' According to the scheme the seven or 
eight of us who were in the 220 lined up, — and 
just as soon as we had knelt down for the start, 
off I went down the track. Of course the others 
thought that I would be called back; but, when 
I had gone at least ten yards, Ernie Camp, as he 
had promised, shot off the revolver. The Clinton 
fellow and the others must have been a bit 
amazed, but nevertheless they started off, with 
me at least fifteen yards ahead. I was feeling 
fine, legging it along as tight as I could go, and I 
could see the spectators in the stands waving 
handkerchiefs and banners. The umbrella was 
surely mine! 


" And then, about fifty yards from the finish, 
I noticed somebody at my side, and there was 
that long-legged Clinton fellow going by me al- 
most without any effort. I tried to sprint, but I 
was all in. Pretty soon another one went by, and, 
before I reached the tape, they had all beaten me, 
and I came in last. I didn't hear the end of that 
affair for weeks! Every time it rained somebody 
would want to borrow my collapsible imibrella. 
When I look back on it now, I realize that it was 
a disgraceful trick, but it was all so funny and the 
result was so peculiar that I can't help laughing. 
Our ethical standards weren't very noble, I 
guess! But that race did do one thing, — it taught 
me that 1 could never expect to be a sprinter, and 
ever since I've concentrated on the longer dis- 

" Do you think I can ever win my letter, Kid? " 
asked Oscar, with a wistful note in his voice. 
" You see, I've had no experience at all. I'm just 
the opposite of you; I don't believe I ever ran a 
mile in my life before I came here." 

"That's queer, too," was Kid's answer, "for 
the great gods built you to be a runner, Oscar. 
Here you are with long legs, a broad chest, and 
a slender waist, — what more do you want? And 


you have some pluck or you wouldn't have tried 
to keep up with the cross-country squad. All you 
need now is training and experience. I don't 
want to raise any false hopes, but you have a 
mighty good chance of wearing an 'A' on your 
jersey next spring." 

This was sufficient encouragement for Oscar, 
who left Kid's room as proud as if he had just 
been named as ambassador to England. He knew 
that he had persistence enough to keep going; it 
was now mainly a question of how much physical 
endowment he could rely on. Happily he was 
beginning to reap the reward of his hard and 
regular bodily exercise. During the last few days 
of the term, while the final examinations were 
being held, all competitive sports were discon- 
tinued, and the athletes had a well-earned rest, — 
especially the track men, who were entirely will- 
ing to have a few unoccupied afternoons. But 
Oscar did not relax for a single afternoon. With 
a steadiness and vigor which astonished those who 
saw what he was doing, he spent his vacant pe- 
riods in exercise. When several inches of snow 
covered the ground, making the roads too heavy 
for travel, he had recourse to the indoor track. 
He still, moreover, kept up his efforts to enlarge 


his muscles, using dumbbells and parallel bars to 
good effect. By the close of the term he had 
added ten pounds to his weight and two inches to 
his chest expansion; and he bounded out of bed 
each morning feeling like a prince, as if the world 
had been created anew for his delight. It is a 
good feeling. 

On the last evening of the fall term, when all 
his examinations but one had been taken, Oscar, 
after an intimate chat with Kid Wing, came back 
to Wendell Hall about nine o'clock. It was a 
glorious night. Strolling slowly across the campus 
from Phillips Hall, Oscar glimpsed through the 
bare branches of the ghostly elms the twinkling 
lights from a hundred windows. The light snow 
had obliterated the harsher features of the land- 
scape, and the full moon, throwing a soft glow 
over hedges and brick walls, made it appear uni- 
formly beautiful. The slender shaft of the Me- 
morial Tower stood out against the stars, the top 
looking incredibly graceful. For a moment Oscar 
lingered, marvelling at the magic of the spec- 
tacle, which to him was finer than any he could 
recall in Florence or Granada. In that mood he 
felt a kind of inspiration. To him, as to the 
young Wordsworth : 


''The whole earth 
The beauty wore of promise ; that which sets 
The budding rose above the rose full blown/' 

In this spirit of exaltation, Oscar reached Wen- 
dell Hall, mounted the stairs to his room, and 
fumbled for his key, only to find that the door- 
knob was covered with some sticky and obnoxious 
substance, — probably molasses. As he swore 
softly under his breath, — Oscar was not above a 
mild brand of profanity, — he heard muffled noises 
from a dark corner and realized that his ancient 
enemies, the smaller boys, were hidden there, 
laughing at his discomfiture. 

This time, however, there was no hesitation. 
With a rush, he darted into the shadows, seized 
two of the culprits, — one of whom proved to be 
the irrepressible Carl Woodward, — and, dragging 
them out under the center light, proceeded to 
knock their heads together. Two others at once 
attacked him from some other place of conceal- 
ment, but Oscar stood upright and fought them 
all off, finally hurling them from him with no 
uncertain vigor. " Help ! Help ! " cried Carl, 
writhing in pain as Oscar twisted his arm. Boys 
emerged one by one from rooms near by; others 


rushed up-stairs from the corridor below, until 
nearly everybody in the dormitory had assembled 
to watch the fun; and the crowd lustily goaded 
on the combatants. " Go to it, Oscar! " shouted 
Bull Taylor, who was overjoyed to see his friend 
holding his own against such adverse odds. " Put 
the young shrimps out of business for good. 
Now's the time to do it! '' 

Vainly the two smaller lads, who were more 
amazed than anybody at Oscar's sudden transfor- 
mation, tried to escape. He held them in an iron 
grip until they begged whiningly for mercy. And 
then, just at this critical point in the proceedings, 
up came "Weary" Randall, clad in a dressing- 
gown and in no placid mood. The uproar had 
been ' tremendous, and he was quite prepared to 
burst in upon the assembly like an avenging deity. 
But, when he saw the spectacle before him, his 
anger cooled and he could not help smiling. Os- 
car, his glasses over one ear and his hair looking 
like a deserted bird's nest, was posed in the mid- 
dle of the circle in the attitude of the Colossus 
of Rhodes, with a small boy held tightly by the 
scruff of the neck in each hand, both shrieking 
madly, " I give in, Oscar! I give in! Let me go! 
I won't bother you any more, Oscar! " Beyond 


any doubt, Oscar was complete master of the sit- 

Mr. Randall was so deeply absorbed in the com- 
bat that he did not observe what a sensation his 
appearance was making. One by one shadowy 
figures were sneaking away, until only Oscar and 
his assailants remained, — Oscar, who was so much 
excited that he was completely oblivious to every- 
thing around him, and the small lads, who could 
not possibly retreat. At last Oscar's eyes fell on 
Mr. Randall, and he slowly relaxed his clutch. 
The youngsters shook themselves, and Oscar awk- 
wardly tried to smooth his hair and adjust his 
collar. Then he saw the smile on Mr. Randall's 
countenance, and the semblance of a grin ap- 
peared on his own face. 

" Well, Harris, you're getting to be a genuine 
bruiser, aren't you? " said Mr. Randall, in a tone 
which began by being severe but ended in a kindly 
manner. "And you're here, too. Woodward! Just 
as it was earlier in the fall. What's the matter 
with you, Carl? Are you trying to pick a fight 
with Harris the way you did in September? " 

" No, I guess not, sir," responded Carl, who was 
evidently much chagrined at his position. " May 
I go down and change my clothes, sir? " 


"You'd better ask Oscar, Carl/' was the in- 
structor's answer. " He seems to be in command 
just now." 

Carl looked at Mr. Randall to find out whether 
the latter was in earnest, but he could discern no 
signs of relenting. Finally, in a rather forced and 
feeble voice, he turned to Oscar, saying, *' May I 
go now, Oscar? '' The situation was so ridiculous 
that Mr. Randall had to turn his face away. 

" Yes, go," replied Oscar, disposed to be lenient. 
" But don't let this kind of thing occur again. 
Oh, yes, — I almost forgot, — suppose you and Pete 
clean off my door-knob." 

" Can't we wait a few minutes until we get 
fixed up? " inquired Pete. 

" ' Now,' I said ! ' Now ' ! " And the two boys 
almost ran for water and soap. 

When they had completed this cleansing job 
to Oscar's satisfaction, the house master dismissed 
them with a reprimand, and then addressed Oscar. 
" Well, Harris, you've won your own victory, and 
I'm glad of it. Now you must remember not to 
overdo the thing. You've shown these little 
chaps that they can't make a fool of you. It's 
your business now to keep from becoming a bully. 
Furthermore, I'm not going to allow Wendell Hall 


to become the stage for any more such rough- 
houses. IVe helped you a little; now you pitch 
in and help me. Will you do that? '* 

"I certainly will, sir," answered Oscar, with 
vigor. And Mr. Randall knew that the boy meant 
what he said. 



Like most of the new men at Andover, Oscar 
was completely ignorant of the secret societies 
there, and not for some weeks was he aware of the 
significant part which they played in the life of 
the academy. Before she went away, his mother 
had handed him a jewelled pin, upon which were 
the mysterious letters '' K. P. N.," and explained 
that she had found this among Mr. Harris's pos- 
sessions after his death. 

" I don't know what these letters mean," she 
continued, " but it was your father's when he was 
a boy at Andover, and you ought to have it. I 
remember that he was very careful of it, and that 
he once told me that it indicated membership in 
some sort of club. You had better put it away in 
your jewel case. It may come in handy later." 

It was rather extraordinary that Oscar, at this 

particular stage of his career, did not create a 

sensation by wearing this ornament conspicuously 

on his coat lapel, but he fortunately had enough 



sense to lock it up and forget about it. The aver- 
age " prep " is unlikely to hear much society gos- 
sip; and Oscar, during his early weeks at school, 
kept very much to himself. He did discover that 
some gloomy and impressive-looking structures, 
into which no one could ever be seen entering, 
were society houses, but his curiosity did not lead 
him to make further inquiries. Once he walked 
past the K. P. N. house, — an imposing brick build- 
ing, sealed up like a tomb, with a porch supported 
by tall white pillars, — and speculated idly as to 
what it must be like inside. But there were other 
matters which, by that time, seemed to him to 
have far greater importance, — how he was to in- 
crease his chest expansion, for instance, and how 
he could win an "A'' on the track. 

When a " freak ^' like Oscar is admitted to 
Andover, the news spreads like village gossip, and 
there are always some boisterous blades who are 
ready to take advantage of such tempting inno- 
cence. Thus it was that on an evening in late 
November, two of the school humorists, " Dusty " 
Sandford and " Matt " White, dressed in the most 
formal attire, — which means that each, in addi- 
tion to the necessary covering garments, wore a 
stiff linen collar and carried a stick, — knocked at 


Oscar's door. When they had been invited to en- 
ter, they stepped in with ostentatious ceremony, 
and Oscar, who was still very green, urged them 
to be seated. As a host, Oscar was quite in his 
element, and, when the initial embarrassment had 
disappeared, he made his visitors feel very much 
at home, even proposing to brew them some tea. 
At last, when the conversation languished for a 
moment. Dusty opened the way to real business. 
" Harris," he began solemnly, " you have doubt- 
less been wondering why we are here. My name 
is Sandford, and this gentleman with me is Mr. 
White,— Mr. Matthew W. White, a member of the 
Society of Mayflower Descendants. We happen 
to be representatives of one of the secret organi- 
zations here in Andover, — Sigma Eta Mu, — prob- 
ably the oldest fraternal group in any school in 
this country. • We take in, as you may readily be- 
lieve, only men who have had some experience 
in the world. To put it bluntly, Harris, we rather 
pride ourselves on our exclusiveness. We never, 
for instance, should dream of taking a man simply 
because he is an athlete or a team manager. Our 
members must have blue blood in their veins and 
know how to conduct themselves anywhere among 
the best people." 


" That sounds interesting," commented Oscar, 
a little flattered and yet somewhat suspicious. 
Dusty was a very persuasive talker. 

" We have looked up your ancestry somewhat, 
and we have been studying your manners and 
dress as you appear on the campus. We are con- 
vinced that we should be making no mistake in 
asking you to join our select group; and there- 
fore we have the honor of extending to you a 
formal invitation to become a member of Sigma 
Eta Mu." 

" Thank you very much, Mr. Sandford. I ap- 
preciate your courtesy. Must I give you my de- 
cision right away? " 

"Decision!" ejaculated Dusty, producing an 
excellent imitation of a kind-hearted friend very 
much insulted. " No Andover man has ever de- 
clined an invitation to our organization! It is 
inconceivable that you should refuse such a dis- 
tinction! Don't you realize that there can be, 
under our constitution, only thirteen members a 
year from the student body! Why, there are fa- 
thers who would give thousands of dollars to have 
their sons make Sigma Eta Mu! " Dusty pro- 
nounced the mystic words in a loud whisper which 
had a very weird effect. 


So horrified did the two callers look at the mere 
suggestion of a possible refusal that Oscar was 
disinclined to argument and gave his assent with- 
out any further delay. Sandford then asked him 
to write his check for fifty dollars, as an initiation 
fee, — the story of his generosity to the Society of 
Inquiry had spread over the campus, — and, when 
Oscar opened his mouth to protest, he was con- 
fronted by stern glances from Dusty and Matt. 
The latter, who had hitherto said nothing, now 
began : " You will receive in return for this lucre 
a jewelled pin after the initiation has been com- 
pleted. We do not approve of delays in matters 
of this kind. Therefore on to-morrow evening at 
seven o'clock, after consuming only a glass of milk 
for dinner, you will take your position in a stand- 
ing posture against the burial vault in Spring 
Grove Cemetery, facing towards the setting sun. 
There you will be examined by the Great Mogul, 
who will give you further instructions. A suit- 
able costume will be brought you at noon to- 
morrow. Farewell, victim, farewell! And speak 
to no one regarding this, under penalty of dire 
punishment! " 

After the two ringleaders had made impressive 
bows and departed, Oscar sat a long time in deep 


thought. He was, it must be remembered, wholly 
uninformed regarding fraternities. He wanted to 
consult Bull Taylor, but Matt's final warning kept 
ringing in his ears. There were moments when 
he was so suspicious that he resolved not to pro- 
ceed farther; but then there came to him the 
painful doubt that he might be foolishly rejecting 
a significant honor. In the end he resolved to go 
through with the initiation, no matter what re- 
sulted. At the worst, it could be nothing more 
than a fairly expensive joke. 

At half-past six that evening, Oscar sneaked 
softly out of his room, little aware that virtually 
every eye in the dormitory was upon him as, in 
the gathering twilight, he made his way across 
the fields and into the woods, at a point where a 
well-worn path led to the cemetery and Pomp's 
Pond. He was indeed garbed in a strange man- 
ner: on his head a brown derby hat, at least two 
sizes larger than was necessary ; on his back an old 
black cutaway coat, which had been resurrected 
from some attic in town ; and his thin legs adorned 
with linen knickerbockers, so that he resembled 
a gentleman of the old colonial school out for a 
walk. But Oscar did not walk! Obeying de- 
tailed instructions, he assumed a dog-trot at once. 


and jogged along, grasping the unmanageable 
derby in one hand to keep it from falling over his 
eyes, — altogether the queerest shape that had ever 
passed along that route. At last, his heart thump- 
ing with excitement, he reached the designated 
spot and took up his position facing the glowing 
globe of flame in the western sky. 

Night fell gradually over the countryside. In 
the distance Oscar could hear the bells from the 
Memorial Tower faintly chiming the quarter- 
hour, their notes sounding like a mournful tinkle 
in the quiet air. The tombstones around him 
accentuated the gloom in his heart, and he felt 
more and more nervous. He had almost no super- 
stitions; yet none of us is fond of graveyards, 
and nobody is likely to choose one as a site for a 
summer cottage. Slowly the shadows deepened. 
The monotonous song of the tree-toads became a 
low humming, and an owl hooted in the branches 
of an oak near by. Oscar started at a sudden 
noise, only to discover that it was simply the light 
wind moving among the dead leaves over his head. 

And then, when it seemed as if he had been 
waiting for an eternity, and his legs were com- 
mencing to feel prickly, a tall figure in white tow- 
ered above him as if it had risen out of a grave, — • 


silent, motionless, dreadful ! From which direction 
it had arrived, Oscar could not tell; but there it 
was, with one long arm stretched towards the 
heavens. A chill struck at Oscar's heart. He was 
as brave as anybody, but the long, anxious period 
of suspense and the chilly night air had worn on 
his nerves. His knees trembling and his teeth 
chattering, he listened to hear what might be 
said. But the ghostly form stood speechless! It 
merely turned, lowered its arm slightly, and 
pointed; then it gestured slowly, like the spirit of 
Hamlet's father, indicating that Oscar should fol- 
low. As it moved off majestically through the 
shadows, he was conscious of other spectral shapes 
around him, and could occasionally catch a glint 
of white through the trees. It was all very alarm- 
ing, especially to one who, like Oscar, had just 
been reading Hamlet in his English class and 
could quote verbatim: 

**I could a tale unfold whose lightest word 
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, 
Make thy two eyes like stars start from their 

Thy knotted and combined locks to part 
And each particular hair stand up on end, 
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine." 

Oscar, feeling his way gingerly through the 


darkness in the wake of his taciturn guide, moved 
slowly along until he reached what he recognized as 
the highway on the western side of the cemetery. 
Here the sheeted figure motioned him peremp- 
torily to halt, and two by no means gentle hands 
tied a bandage over his eyes, — so tightly that, 
even if it had been broad daylight, he could have 
seen nothing. Then he was hurried along, through 
bushes and briars and over stone walls, for what 
seemed to him miles and miles. Would they never 
let him rest? At last, after a steep descent, they 
paused, and an ominous silence fell, while Oscar 
wondered where he was. 

" Victim," said a strident voice, " you are now 
poised on the edge of a precipice overhanging the 
lake, which lies fifty feet below. You are to jump 
and then swim for shore, — if by chance you es- 
cape being mangled on tnle rocks at the base of 
the cliff. This is the supreme test of your cour- 
age and vitality. If you emerge alive, even though 
badly hurt, you will be deemed worthy of becom- 
ing a member of the ancient order of Sigma Eta 

Under cover of the darkness, Oscar smiled to 
himself. There were limits even to his credulity, 
and this kind of stuff seemed childish to him. He 


thought the situation out deliberately, resolved 
that he would make no such leap as was proposed, 
and came to a decision as to what he should do. 

" Now, unhappy victim," announced the leader, 
addressing him, " when I count three, spring with 
all your strength so that you may avoid the jagged 
stones on the shore below and will reach the deep 
water in safety. Are you ready? One! Two! 
Three! " 

As the last word rang out, Oscar bent his knees 
and jumped, — not forward, however, but back- 
wards, in accordance with his resolution. But the 
consequences of this unexpected action were de- 
cidedly dramatic. He had really been standing on 
the bank of the Shawsheen River, facing away 
from the stream, and his tormentors, while hoping 
to duck him later beneath its chilling waters, had 
supposed that he would now give a prodigious 
leap and fall to the earth, like the blind Gloster 
in Shakespeare's King Lear, Instead, Oscar, 
thinking to be shrewd, had done exactly the wrong 
thing. He had thrown himself backwards into the 
river, at a point where it was well over his head. 
For a few seconds the crowd stood as if paralyzed. 
Then Oscar reappeared, cried desperately, " Help! 
Help! " and sank again. 


Now at last everybody was aroused. Sheets 
were discarded, gallant rescuers leaped wildly into 
the stream, and there were frenzied shouts of 
'' Here he is! " " No, he's gone down again! " and 
'' Dive for him, Matt/' The water seemed to be 
alive with wriggling, twisting human beings. At 
last one of them emerged on the bank, his hands 
tenaciously twined in Oscar's hair. The half- 
unconscious boy was dragged higher up, and there 
ensued some furious efforts at resuscitation, which 
were broken off by groans from the ^initiate. 
" Leave me alone, will you! I'm all right! Let 
me up, you fools! I can swim, but of course I 
couldn't get out when you kept knocking me un- 
der trying to save my life." Oscar gradually rid 
himself of the liquid which he had involuntarily 
swallowed, and finally stood up, looking very 
damp and dismal, but still alive. 

" Why did you jump that way, you poor fish? " 
indignantly inquired one of the committee. 
" You've ruined the show ! " 

"What do you mean, — fish?" asked Oscar, in 
no mild humor, having never heard this expres- 
sive slang phrase. " I didn't choose to go into the 
water, did I? " 

" Well, you leaped into it, didn't you? " 


" Yes, but I only did it to fool you," was Oscar's 
logical reply. 

" And you came mighty near having a watery 
grave, young man. And the school would have 
had to bury you and put flowers on your coflBin, 
and you aren't worth it." 

"What'll I do now?" inquired Oscar, a little 
wearily. " Have I got to climb another cliff? " 

" Don't be sarcastic, victim. You'd better run 
back to your dormitory. This performance is 
herewith concluded." 

" But I don't know the road," pleaded Oscar. 
It was a sensible remark, for the night was now 
so black that not a landmark could be picked out 
in any direction. It was absolutely impossible to 
discern any path. 

"You just trail after me," spoke up a voice 
which Oscar recognized as Hal Manning's. " I'll 
show you, if you will try to keep up." 

Off they went, dripping water at every step. It 
was a miserable parade, for it was chilly in the 
night air and no one felt like breaking into song. 
After stumbling twenty times over fallen logs 
and scratching his legs and face on briars, Oscar 
reached Wendell Hall. He had been cautioned 
to enter quietly, in the hope that Mr. Randall 


had not made his customary round of the rooms. 
Luckily for Oscar, the master had been out to 
dinner, and Oscar was able to reach his study 
without being detected. There he quickly dis- 
robed, took a steaming bath, and went to bed, 
only to be haunted by spectral shapes and sepul- 
chral voices. 

On the following morning, after the church serv- 
ice was over, Oscar was glancing through the in- 
terminable pages of the Sunday paper when there 
were three heavy knocks on his door, and in 
tramped Dusty and Matt, accompanied by Hal 
Manning. They stood in silence before him for 
several minutes. Then Dusty, having made the 
desired impression, stepped forward and said, — 
" Harris, you have not been obedient to the com- 
mands of the Grand Mogul. You have brought 
ridicule on our sacred ritual and displayed an 
unseemly spirit of levity. Nevertheless it has 
been decided by the Supreme Council in solemn 
conclave assembled that you must be created a 
regular member of Sigma Eta Mu. I therefore 
take pleasure in decorating you, in the presence 
of these witnesses, with the insignia of our frater- 
nity." Saying these words, he pinned on the lapel 
of Oscar's coat a tin emblem, representing a 


donkey's head, and then stepped off to study the 

" And now, Brother Big Fatima," he continued, 
turning to Hal, whose face was suspiciously crim- 
son, " will you whisper in the ear of the novice 
the motto of our order? '^ 

Manning bowed low, saluted, and said, 
"Brother Little Fatima, I obey." Then, ap- 
proaching Oscar, he said in a low but perfectly 
audible tone, " Brother Lucky Strike, our motto, 
never to be spoken above a whisper, is Sigma Eta 
Mu, — Snatch Easy Money! '' 

With this disclosure. Manning and his com- 
panions bent low in mock reverence and with- 
drew from the room, before Oscar had time to 
regain his senses. He had, of course, realized for 
some time that he had been the victim of a hoax, 
and he was glad that the program was over. 

The tale of the previous evening's adventures 
was certain to leak out sooner or later, and ulti- 
mately it reached the ears of the Head. It is 
amazing how rapidly under some conditions gos- 
sip of this kind travels in a school community. 
That gentleman was sorely tempted to place the 
matter in the hands of the Student Council ; but, 
when he heard all the details, he was convinced 


that the conspirators had been sufficiently pun- 
ished by their wetting, and he contented himself 
with sending word that Oscar's fifty dollars must 
be refunded. Oscar himself was reticent regard- 
ing the episode, but he counted it as another phase 
of his education. He resolved then and there 
never again to accept without question what was 
told to him by a stranger. And there was a fur- 
ther incidental consequence which, in after years, 
Oscar was inclined to look back upon as one of 
the significant events of his life. 

Oscar had found none of his classes dull, but 
that which he had enjoyed most was the one con- 
ducted by Professor Foster, — affectionately known 
to the boys as "Charlie," — in Virgil's ^neid. 
He was a man of wide experience and broad cul- 
ture, who brought to bear upon his subject the 
scholarship of a lifetime of reading and travel. 
He had a keen wit and a robust humor, — quali- 
ties which were lavishly displayed in his class- 
room. He loved to jest about his portliness, and 
often referred to his "rotund personality" and 
the fact that he was a " well-rounded " man. It 
was said of him by the alumni that his course in 
Senior ^Latin was a liberal education. Irreproach- 
able in dress and manners, he treated his students 


as if they were his equals as gentlemen, and, by 
so doing, drew from them their very best efforts. 
For him Oscar had an admiration not far from 
idolatry, but, in characteristic Andover fashion, 
the boy repressed his feelings, merely sitting at- 
tentive through the recitations. He had no idea 
that Professor Foster knew him at all outside the 
Pearson Hall classroom until one day that teacher, 
calling him to the desk after the hour, invited him 
to dinner on the following evening. Oscar, made 
a little timid by his earlier experiences, accepted 
rather shyly, not without a suspicion that this too 
might turn out to be a joke. 

When he first came to Andover, Oscar would 
have entered Professor Foster's home with the air 
of a man of the world, familiar with all the correct 
usages of society; now, however, he was a little 
less sure of himself, and he seemed for the first 
few moments to be diffident and even awkward. 
But he found Mrs. Foster so gracious and Pro- 
fessor Foster so entertaining that he could not 
help regaining his old confidence; and it was not 
long before he was chatting in an easy way about 
paintings which he had seen in the Paris galleries 
and even describing the serrated crags of Mont- 
serrat. The Fosters had travelled everywhere and 



seen everything, and they paid Oscar the flattering 
compliment of assuming that he was one with 
them in their appreciation of works of art. Their 
house, which was some little distance from the 
academy buildings, was furnished with exquisite 
things, many of them bought in Europe, and Os- 
car found pleasure in picking out some which had 
for him an especial appeal. For a time, indeed, 
he forgot completely his athletic aspirations; in- 
deed he could almost believe that he was no 
longer a schoolboy, but just a friend among 

After a dinner which made Oscar feel as if he 
had returned to Paris and its delicacies. Professor 
Foster took Oscar into his library, a room lined 
with bookshelves almost to the ceiling, offered him 
a cigarette, — which the potential mile-runner re- 
gretfully declined, — and motioned him to a great 
leather-covered chair, into which he sank until he 
felt as if he were disappearing from view. Then, 
lighting a cigar and inhaling the fragrant aroma, 
the teacher said, " Well, my boy, youVe been hav- 
ing some rather painful experiences, haven't 

" Oh, nothing to speak of, sir," answered Oscar. 
"It's good for me, I guess, to learn what the 


world is like. I had led what people call a ' shel- 
tered existence' until I came here. Sooner or 
later I should have had to confront the real thing, 
and I'm rather glad that I've had some of the 
conceit and ignorance knocked out of me. But 
I didn't dream that anybody on the faculty had 
heard of my troubles." 

" There's very little that escapes our Argus- 
eyed teachers. Often we can't say anything about 
what we see or hear, but we know a great deal 
more than you fellows imagine. I've been told all 
about your initiation, for instance, and the duck- 
ing you gave the others. That couldn't have been 
such bad fun." 

" Yes, it was rather a joke on them, now that I 
think about it. But I hope that the faculty won't 
want to punish those fellows, sir. They didn't 
mean any harm, and the whole affair was good 
for me. Why, one of them even came yesterday 
and handed me back the check for fifty dollars 
I had given him. That was a mighty white thing 
to do." 

The Professor listened thoughtfully to what 
Oscar was saying. He wanted to be very careful 
what he said in reply. Then he began, " No, you 
don't need to worry about that. They'll escape 


this time, even though they may be a bit appre- 
hensive. But, in connection with that, I do want 
to talk to you for just a moment. You've been 
brought up to know a good deal about art and 
architecture and music, and to love beautiful 
things. Don't abandon all that just because a 
crowd of average young Americans make fun of 
you. The trouble with most schools in this coun- 
try is that there is a tendency for the students 
to develop in exactly the same way, to grow to be 
alike in their tastes and habits and desires. I've 
been watching you ever since you entered my 
class, and there's fine stuff in you if only you 
refuse to let yourself become standardized. 
That's the curse of our time, — this eagerness to 
turn out products like Ford cars, all alike, with 
interchangeable parts. I want you to be a Cadil- 
lac or a Pierce Arrow, different from the others 
and better than they are. Of course you'll have 
to conform in clothes and language to those with 
whom you associate every day; but don't you let 
your soul be turned into a mould. Keep your 

" Professor Foster, youVe said just what IVe 
thought a hundred times since I reached this 
place. It's wonderful here. There are beautiful 


buildings and able teachers and everything a fel- 
low can ask for. The only fear I have is that I 
may forget some of the things I used to know. 
Just now I'm interested in developing my body 
and becoming an athlete, and I'm going to be a 
rimner if it can possibly be done. But that isn't 
all there is to life. When I'm out here with Mrs. 
Foster and you, I am sure that it is right to like 
cathedrals and listen to grand opera. And then 
I get back and, when I hear some of the fellows 
in the * dorm ' talk contemptuously about * high- 
brows,' I feel foolish." 

" It's the same in all schools, Harris. As a mat- 
ter of fact, things are better here at Andover than 
in almost any other place I know. The trouble is 
that we teachers have to plan courses for the aver- 
age man, and the exceptional fellow has to shift 
for himself. But you have too much character to 
let yourself be smothered by mediocrity, I'm sure. 
And you can become one of the boys, and win 
prizes in running, without letting your real self 
be cramped. Whenever you get despondent about 
it all, come out to see me and we'll talk it over." 

There was much other talk before this memo- 
rable evening was over, but enough has been re- 
produced to show its general trend. When Oscar 


rose to say " Good-night! " he felt that he had 
never spent a more wholesome or stimulating two 
hours. As he walked back to Wendell Hall across 
the fields, the world looked rosier than it had ap- 
peared at any time since he had been left in 
Andover. When he reached his room, he looked 
for a moment at a huge photograph of Jack 
Dempsey, the boxer, which had replaced an en- 
graving of Toledo Cathedral between his win- 
dows. Then, with an ejaculation of impatience, 
he tore it down from the wall, hunted in his closet 
for the discarded cathedral, and, when he had 
found it, hung it up carefully in its original posi- 
tion. " That's better," he said, with a sigh of re- 
lief, " and it's a good deal more like me! " 

Such is the influence which one personality can 
exert unconsciously upon another. And " Char- 
lie " Foster does not know to this day how much 
comfort and inspiration he brought to one half- 
discouraged Andover senior. 



With all his " queerness '' and gullibility, the 
heir to the Harris fortunes was something of a 
judge of men. He had wandered into so many 
strange corners of continental cities and had met 
so many varieties of Russians and Albanians and 
Turks that he was not astonished at anything or 
anybody. Furthermore, he was mature morally 
as well as mentally. There was with him, for ex- 
ample, no temptation to go through the process 
colloquially known as " sowing wild oats." When 
he saw occasionally at Andover representatives 
of the so-called " sporting classes '' trying desper- 
ately to " see life," he was neither alarmed nor 
offended, because he was not unacquainted with 
their experiments in vice. The students who sat 
daringly on the fire-escape smoking cigarettes in 
defiance of school regulations aroused in him noth- 
ing but pity for their childishness. Once, when 
some would-be " bad men " tried to lure him into 

a game of bridge, thinking that he would prove 



profitable prey, he yielded and showed such mas- 
tery of the game that they did not ask him again. 
As it happened, bridge was a pastime which he 
had learned from his mother and her friends, and, 
although he did not care for gambling, he played 
with quickness and skill. 

Oscar's pride was vulnerable only in matters 
with which he was unacquainted. He was like a 
Bowery urchin on a farm, unable to milk the 
cows or saddle the horses and easily deceived by 
the dullest rustic. With the theatre, the ballet, 
and the revue Oscar had been familiar ever since 
he had put on long trousers, and he could derive 
no thrill from going to a burlesque show or wan- 
dering around the back alleys of Puritanical Bos- 
ton. Had he not prowled alone through Mont- 
martre at midnight and explored the mysteries of 
the Quartier Latin? 

In many respects, as Professor Foster had as- 
certained, Oscar was much more civilized than 
the seniors with whom he was associated, and they 
often seemed to him like a tribe of barbarians. 
They displayed little interest, so far as he could 
discover, in good music, and the majority stub- 
bornly resisted the patient attempts of Dr. 
Schleiermacher, the Director of Music^ to teach 


them to discriminate between the Fifth Sym- 
phony and " Yes, we have no bananas! '^ Only a 
few cared anything about painting or sculpture. 
With literature, perhaps, it was a trifle different 
because no one could be " exposed," so to speak, 
to plays like Hamlet and lyrics like Tears, Idle 
Tears, without getting some conception of what 
great poetry is like; but the average boy had not 
progressed in his literary tastes much beyond the 
Saturday Evening Post, Oscar's delight in church 
architecture and stained-glass windows and 
Chopin preludes would have aroused the scorn 
and laughter of his classmates if he had been so 
innocent as to disclose it. What they liked best 
was sport in all its forms, especially outdoor 
games; their chosen mental recreation was the 
" movies " ; and their stock diversion in their idle 
hours was the so-called humorous paper, repre- 
sented by Judge and College Comics. Oscar, with 
the sensitiveness and canniness of youth, per- 
ceived the desirability of concealing his own ar- 
tistic tastes, and mastered the secret of appear- 
ing to be something he was not. He did not, it 
is true, adopt the banal avocations of some of his 
companions; but, from all outward signs, he was 
by Christmas in dress and bearing a normal, 


healthy American boy, with a horror of being 
considered " different." 

Bull Taylor, — although he would have been 
amazed to hear it, — was for Oscar a source of in- 
spiration. Day after day, with his slow-moving 
mind, he kept driving at matters which had for 
him hardly any intrinsic interest, simply because 
he was in pursuit of that indefinable thing called 
an education. As the two became better ac- 
quainted, Oscar saw that he could readily help 
Bull, and he formed the habit of dropping into his 
room in the evening and hearing him in his 
Geometry and Latin. Bull was left tackle on the 
football team, and it was important for the eleven 
that he keep off the " no-excuse list." Although 
very few heard anything about it, it was only 
Oscar's persistent coaching that maintained Bull's 
ehgibility for the Andover-Exeter game, — in 
which, it may be added, he performed prodigious 
feats of skill, especially in breaking holes through 
which Steve Fisher and the other backs could 
make long gains. During the celebration of the 
great victory, everybody, including the Head him- 
self, praised Bull for his brilliant showing; but 
Bull did not fail to remember that he could never 
have played on that team if it had not been for 


the almost continuous prodding which Oscar had 
administered to his pupil's sluggish mentality. 

" Say, Oscar, how am I going to thank you? " 
he asked in an embarrassed way, on the Sunday 
morning after the contest, as the two sat sur- 
rounded by newspapers describing the game. 
" Here youVe done most of the hard labor, and 
I get all the credit. Ill swear that it's a tougher 
job making me pass * Charlie ' Foster's Virgil than 
it is to run for a touchdown through a broken 
field. Look at this headline, — ' Fisher and Tay- 
lor Destroy Exeter's Defense.' Somebody 
ought to produce the truth, ' Harris Drags Tay- 
lor Through Geometry.' That would be really 

" Oh, cut it out ! " answered Oscar, who had by 
this date acquired some slang which would have 
alarmed his precise mother. " Going over the 
stuff with you helped me, too. I had to do it 
myself, anyhow, didn't I? You aren't a bone- 
head, anyway. It's just that books come hard to 
you, that's all." 

" You're the real thing in friends, and I'm for 
you, whatever you do. I only hope that I get a 
chance some day to do you a favor." 

" You will, Bull. Forty years from now, when 


you're a member of Morgan and Company and 
are putting through a billion dollar airplane mer- 
ger, I'll drop in on you and borrow carfare." 

" If that time ever comes, you'll get whatever 
you want, — that is, if I have it. I'll guarantee 

In making plans for his Christmas vacation, 
Oscar had followed his mother's instructions and 
had agreed to go to Philadelphia as the guest of 
his Uncle Henry, his mother's brother, who was 
a wealthy merchant in that city. It occurred to 
him that he could, perhaps, have Bull included 
in the invitation, but the latter, when the plan 
was suggested, declined rather forcibly. 

" What could I do in a place like that? " he 
asked. " I haven't even got a dinner coat, to say 
nothing of a pak of dancing-shoes. I'd be a swell 
sort of a friend to introduce to Philadelphia so- 
ciety, I would! No, I'm going to New York for 
a day or two and see Mr. Simmons, the man who 
helped me come to Andover; and then, after 
Christmas, I shall come back here and study. I 
need to, I guess." 

"Oh, come on, Bull! You don't know my 
uncle. He wouldn't care whether you wore a 
Tuxedo or a khaki sweater. He's a regular fellow, 


— fought all through the War, and goes huntmg 
in Africa. He likes people, not clothes.'' 

" That's all right. There won't be any battle 
or any lion-hunt in Philadelphia this Christmas — 
nothing hut * tea fights.' I'm going on my own." 
And Bull refused to listen to any further argu- 

During the last three days of the fall term, 
there was a regular schedule of final examinations, 
and it seemed to Oscar as if life were just one test 
after another. On Thursday morning, however, 
it was all over, and Oscar went with Bull to Bos- 
ton just as soon as they could catch a train. On 
the way to town, Oscar discovered that Bull had 
planned to ride in a day coach to New York; and 
it speaks volumes for Oscar's tact that he never 
faltered, but bought his ticket in the same way, 
although he had not imagined that anybody ever 
took a journey of five hours except in a Pullman 
car. It was his first lesson in "how the other 
half live." 

The two parted company in the Grand Central 
Station, and Oscar went on to Philadelphia, where 
he spent the next three weeks. He was very fond 
of his aunt and uncle, and they, in their turn, 
undertook to make the hours pass pleasantly. His 


Uncle Henry, who was a bluff, outspoken man, 
did not hesitate to congratulate him on his im- 
provement. " Great Scott, Alfred, you look as 
if you were going to be an athlete. What has 
happened to you? When I saw you last^all, you 
were a poor, spindly thing; now you've filled out 
in the chest, and your cheeks are ruddy. That 
Andover must be a pretty good kind of school.'' 

" You bet it is," said Oscar, who had not been 
called Alfred for three months. " It's the finest 
little spot on earth, and I sure am glad that 
Mother sent me there." 

" She hesitated a long time before she did," re- 
plied Uncle Henry. "She thought it was too 
rough a place for you." 

"It was just what I needed, Uncle Henry," 
went on Oscar. " I was the worst prig on this 
side of the Atlantic Ocean. I may not be much 
better now, but Andover is responsible for what- 
ever change there is." 

" Well, all I can say now is that your mother 
is in for a big surprise. I just hope that I'll be 
around when you meet." 

If some of Oscar's former tormentors, like Hal 
Manning and Joe Watson, could have seen him 
at tea dances in the Bellevue-Stratford, moving 


unembarrassed in the best society, they would have 
been overcome by his poise and ease of manner. 
He was back in his own environment once more, 
where his virtues were recognized and his defects 
seemed unimportant. Vacation was a continuous 
succession of theatre parties, balls, concerts, and 
teas, with a few dinners scattered in the program 
here and there. Oscar's one sorrow was that he 
had very little opportunity to keep up his run- 
ning, but his Uncle Henry, who had been an oars- 
man at New Haven, assured him that the respite 
would be good for him. He did, however, take 
some long walks in the park, and occasionally he 
would break into a jog-trot on the long level 
stretches. He was careful also not to eat rich 
cakes and pastries, and he managed to get plenty 
of sleep in the morning when he had been out late 
the night before. His Uncle Henry watched him 
with some amusement, but with inward delight at 
the transformation which had taken place. 

The climax of the holiday season was a Junior 
League ball, attended by what seemed to Oscar 
to be thousands of young men and women from 
schools and colleges. He was standing in the 
crowd of "stags'' on one side of the ballroom 
when he saw Steve Fisher in a corner by him- 


self, evidently very much bored. Not quite cer- 
tain whether he ought to be the one to claim ac- 
quaintance, Oscar waited a moment; but soon 
Steve turned, and, when he caught sight of Oscar, 
he came eagerly in the latter's direction. 

" Why, hello, Oscar," he cried, as he seized his 
hand. " I didn't expect to see you in this part 
of the world." 

" Yes, my uncle lives here, and I'm staying with 
him until Andover opens. Is your home in Phila- 
delphia? " 

"No, I just came down from New York for 
this dance," replied Steve. " My home is in Mon- 
tana, you know, and I've been spending the vaca- 
tion with a fellow out in Englewood. He's the 
one that dragged me here. The only trouble is 
that neither one of us knows many of these girls." 

" Is that so? " said Oscar. " Why don't you let 
me introduce you? I've often been here to visit 
my relatives, and I can lead you to some beau- 

Steve, just a trifle skeptical, gave his assent, 
and it is to be recorded that Oscar fulfilled his 
promise. Within half an hour Steve had met 
some of the most charming girls he had ever seen, 
and was having an enthralling time, — at a dance 


which, an hour before, had appeared very dull. 
Before the evening was over he came up to Oscar 
in a manner more ingratiating than he had yet 
shown, slapped him cordially on the shoulder, 
and said, " See here, old top, you've certainly done 
me a good turn, and I appreciate it. You seem 
to be the whole bag of potatoes down in this 
* burg.' Your name is good for a million dollars." 
It is certain that Steve, when he returned to 
Andover, had something to tell Hal and Joe of 
Oscar's lofty position in the social world. This 
reputation did not injure Oscar in the slightest. 

Oscar had had a delightful holiday, but being 
anxious to get back to his running, he was not at 
all regretful when the time came to report at 
Andover. His Uncle Henry, who had enjoyed 
him immensely, did not like to have him depart. 
But the " Good-byes! " had to be said, and he 
soon found himself among old school friends on 
the Knickerbocker going from New York to Bos- 
ton. There had been almost no snow in Penn- 
sylvania, but, when he stepped off the Boston 
and Maine train at the Andover station, there 
was at least two feet of it on the ground, and 
everything looked very wintry. " I'll have to do 
all my running indoors," thought the boy, as he 


was jolted up the rutted hill in a taxicab and 
stared out of the windows at the drifts along the 
trolley tracks. Fortunately he had a new raccoon 
coat which his thoughtful mother had insisted on 
purchasing before she sailed; and Oscar had to 
confess that it was not at all uncomfortable now. 
When the cab stopped in front of Wendell Hall, 
he looked cheerfully around at the now familiar 
scenes, stepped out into the midst of a group of 
his dormitory mates, and then rushed up-stairs 
to Bull's room. As he burst in the door without 
knocking, — ^his mother would have termed his 
manners atrocious, — he saw Bull in his desk-chair, 
leaning over with his head on his arms, a picture 
of unredeemed dejection. At Oscar's blustery en- 
trance, he jumped up quickly and tried rather 
pathetically to assume a gay expression. 

" Why, hello, you old reprobate," he shouted 
with something of his usual boisterousness. " I'm 
glad to see you back. Steve Fisher tells me that 
you're the king of Philadelphia cotillion leaders. 
Sit down and tell me all about it." 

" I'm fine, of course," answered Oscar, who 
could see at once that something was wrong. 
" But what's the trouble with you? You look 
like the last rose of summer! Are you sick? " 


" No, I guess not." 

*' Well, what is the matter? You are a regular 
winter gloom." 

" It's nothing that you can help, kiddo." 

" Say, why don't you loosen up and tell a fel- 
low? If youVe stolen a watch or poisoned any- 
body's soup, 111 keep mum." 

"It isn't really very much, I suppose," re- 
sponded Bull at last. " It's just that I can't stay 
in Andover any longer." 

'' Can't stay here! I thought you liked the 
place! " 

" I do, but all my money's gone." 

" I don't see what difference that makes. 
Aren't you working and earning your way? Be- 
sides, I always thought that you had a scholar- 

"You're right, I have; but you see I didn't 
finish up last term quite so well in my studies as 
I should have done, and the amount of my schol- 
arship has been reduced. And then this Mr. Sim- 
mons who has been helping me has written that 
he can't afford to do it any more. So I've just 
got to get out and begin earning money for my- 
self. It's just as well, I guess. I could never 
make the grade as a student, anyway." 


" If I were you, I'd just quit talking like that. 
Look here, Bull, I get more money a month than 
I could possibly spend in a year. It just piles 
up in the bank, and it might as well be put to 
some useful purpose. All I need to know is how 
much you want, and I can get it for you pronto. 
All I have to do is to write a check. There must 
be more than a thousand dollars to my credit at 
just this moment." 

" But I can't take your money, Oscar. You're 
a brick, but it wouldn't be right. You haven't 
the shadow of a chance of having it returned. 
You see it's literally true that I haven't a cent to 
my name, and there's nobody back of me to help 
me out. I'm playing a lone hand, as the detec- 
tive stories say." 

" I don't care whether I ever see the cash again. 
Besides I know you, and I'm sure that nothing 
can keep you from success. You will earn enough 
within two years after your graduation to pay up 
what you owe." Oscar was doing his best to put 
forth every argument which would persuade Bull 
to accept his assistance, knowing that the latter 
was proud and that it would be no easy matter 
to overcome his scruples. The two debated the 
matter for a long time, and finally, as the mid- 


night chimes were striking, Bull agreed to accept 
a loan of five hundred dollars for his expenses 
during the remainder of the year, with the specific 
understanding that he was to sign a promissory 
note for that sum and that Oscar would consider 
the transaction as a business investment. When 
the discussion ended in this settlement, both boys 
were much relieved. 

Still somewhat disturbed in his conscience. Bull 
called the next morning at the office of the Head 
to explain to him, man-fashion, just what had 

" Do you think, sir, that I am justified in ac- 
cepting Harris's proposal? " he inquired, after he 
had told all the details. 

" Why not, Taylor? '* was the Head's prompt 
reply. " He has plenty of money of his own, — I 
happen to know that. He likes you and believes 
in your future. Furthermore, he is bound to be 
much injured in his feelings if you refuse. I hope 
that you will, by all means, borrow the money 
and remain at Andover until the year is over." 

"And you don't think, then, that it will seem 
like sponging on a friend? " 

" Not at all, my boy," said the Head reassur- 
ingly. "Harris is an unusual lad, who has a 


mighty good thinking-piece on those shoulders of 
his. JSe's a bit too individual, I suppose, from 
the undergraduate point of view, but I have an 
idea that he's going to be very popular before 
many months go by/' 

"You just bet he is," answered Bull, with a 
vehemence which made the Head break into a 
smile. " The only reason why he isn't liked bet- 
ter now is because a lot of the fellows can't under- 
stand his fine qualities. The truth is that he has 
grown beyond the * kid ' stage, and a lot of these 
birds, — I mean these boys, — ^haven't." Bull was 
having difficulty in avoiding the slang which he 
habitually employed with his friends. 

" Well, at any rate, don't you hesitate to take 
the money, Taylor," advised the Head, as he rose 
to indicate that the interview was over. "And, 
if you can make a little improvement in that Ge- 
ometry, I'll arrange about some additional aid on 
a scholarship." 

Neither Bull nor the Head felt absolutely bound 
to keep Oscar's generosity a secret; consequently 
it was not long before his fine conduct was gener- 
ally talked about, and he found himself being 
treated in a most kindly way by some teachers 
who hitherto had not seemed exactly to under- 


stand him. The incident, moreover, firmly ce- 
mented his friendship with Bull. The latter 
would not, from that moment, tolerate the slight- 
est suggestion of critical comment of Oscar, and 
nearly broke off amicable relations with some of 
his closest companions because of some mildly 
disparaging remarks which they made at Oscar's 
expense. Oscar himself could feel, as the winter 
wore on, that he was more and more being ac- 
cepted as a " regular fellow." 

It was just being discovered, moreover, that 
Oscar had an uncanny gift for analyzing the psy- 
chology of teachers and predicting the sort of 
questions which each instructor was likely to ask. 
Once, just before an examination which " Dolly " 
Loring gave on Milton's Minor Poems, Oscar had 
the distinction of picking out in advance five of 
the six passages which that "prof" set on his 
paper for interpretation. Achievements like this 
made Oscar very popular just before the " rating " 
period, when tests were common things. Fur- 
thermore, Oscar gained a considerable reputation 
as an explainer of difficult problems in Mathe- 
matics, and his classmates learned that he was 
always ready to help them with their written 
work. He was recognized as a quick and clever 


student, but escaped the odium which attaches 
to the " plugger '* and the " grind." 

It was just after his birthday, in the middle of 
January, that Oscar wrote to his mother a kind 
of outline of his progress. A few passages are, 
perhaps, not without interest: 

" Dearest Mother: 

" Now that I'm nineteen years old I suppose 
I ought to feel a good deal wiser, and I rather think 
that I have learned a bit in the last few months. 
You keep asking me how I am getting along, and 
I wish there were more to tell. My school work 
is not so bad, and I must say that it seems very 
easy to do. My morals are not being contami- 
nated, I guess, and I haven't been caught in any 
deviltry as yet. When I first came, I was a good 
deal of a fool, and the fellows made me a kind of 
goat. [" Goat! Goat! " said Mrs. Harris to her- 
self as she read this. " What does Alfred 
mean? "] But now they're more decent to me, 
probably because they find that I'm on to their 
game. [" On to their game! " repeated the puz- 
zled mother. " My poor boy is losing his refined 
ways and language! "] 

" You want to have me say what I have learned. 
First of aU, I've discovered that not all the influ- 
ential fellows come from what we used to call the 
* best society.' Second, I've found out that 
money doesn't make any difference about a man's 
popularity, — at least here in Andover. Third, 
I've been taught by some experience that there's 
something good in almost everybody if you can 


only get to know him. You can't really hate a 
fellow you know. Perhaps these things don't 
seem to you very important, but they're worth a 
good deal to me just now, — ^much more than any 
Geometry or French. 

'' You will be interested to hear that I've just 
lent five hundred dollars to Bull Taylor. He used 
to be a New York newsboy, and he's my best 
friend in school. [" Horrors! " cried Mrs. Harris, 
as her eyes fell on this sentence and caught its 
meaning. " Poor Alfred ! I've probably ruined 
his career! "] 

" I hope that you'll plan to get back to America 
for the Andover-Exeter Track Meet on Memorial 
Day. I may run in it. 

" Your affectionate son, 


It will be surmised from some statements in 
this communication that Alfred Tennyson Harris 
had been busy framing for himself a working the- 
ory of life. The materials for this new philosophy 
had been provided from many sources, — from fire- 
side talks with " Charlie " Foster, chapel lectures 
by the Head, little adventures with fellow-stu- 
dents, and conversations with an odd acquaint- 
ance, David McGregor, the janitor for Wendell 
Hall. David, who admitted that he was de- 
scended from an ancient Scottish line, was a long 
and lean figure, with a corrugated face, a confi- 
dential manner, and a sly twinkle in his light-blue 


eyes, — all joined with a strong acquisitive sense. 
He had been employed by the school for many 
years and could tell stories about old boys for 
generations back. Once Oscar said to him, " Look 
here, Dave, you've seen a lot of things happen 
here in Andover. Why don't you publish your 
reminiscences? " 

David, scratching his head over this rather long 
word, finally got Oscar's meaning and replied, 
" Mister Harris, whin I was a bye in auld Dundee, 
I done lots of foolish things, but I never-r-r wrote 
no bulk." 

David was a loyal member of his local clan, 
and attended the meetings with regularity. 
There was one great evening during Oscar's year 
at Andover when Harry Lauder, the famous come- 
dian, made a visit to his countrymen in the town. 
Of course a banquet was given in his honor, to 
which all the Scotchmen in the vicinity were in- 
vited. Professor Foster, himself a Highlander in 
his ancestry, told Oscar of an incident towards 
the close of the festivities, when the excited David 
rose from his seat and caused a sensation by pro- 
posing a health, " To Sir Harry Lauder, — and — 
and — Sir Lady Lauder! " 

Once on a very cold Sunday morning there was 


a knock at Oscar's door, and David walked in, 
threw off his rough tweed overcoat, and displayed 
himself in full regalia, kilt, plaid, bonnet, and 
bare legs. For the edification of Oscar, Bull, and 
several other boys who congregated there, he did 
a Highland fling to the accompaniment of a whis- 
tled tune. When Bull Taylor remarked upon 
David's exposure to the elements, the latter an- 
swered, " Boy, the McGregors belong to a 
har-r-dy race! " 

When David was in the right mood, he liked to 
toast his toes in front of the open fire and talk in 
his broad dialect about " Bonnie Doon " and 
"Auld Reekie," — often for so long that Oscar 
would have to use summary methods to get rid 
of him. One day the old man picked from the 
bookshelf a gorgeously bound copy of Burns's 
poetry, and, turning the pages, began in a low 
voice to murmur the lines, shaking his head all 
the time with delight. Gradually warming up, 
he recited whole passages with a fervor which 
only a genuine Scotchman can show. Oscar was 
profoundly stirred by some of the poems, — not 
the love songs, although they were fascinating, 
but the sturdy lyrics of independence, particu- 


**Wliat though on hamely fare we dine, 
Wear hoddin grey, and a' that? 
Gie fools their silks and knaves their wine — 
A man's a man for a' that." 

The one which appealed to him most, however, 
was a stanza which he came across by chance and 
asked David to recite: 

**If happiness hae not her seat 

An' center in the breast. 
We may be wise, or rich, or great, 

But never can be blest ! 
Nae treasures nor pleasures 

Could make us happy lang; 
The heart ay's the part ay 

That makes us right or wrong ! ' ' 

This, thought Oscar, is a whole sermon in itself. 
So impressed was he with it that he induced 
David to teach him how to pronounce the gnarled 
consonants and to roll his "r's" like the great 
Harry Lauder himself. Then, with fire in his eye, 
he would rush into BulFs room and declaim : 

**The heart ay's the part ay 

That makes us right or wrong! " 

Among the elements of a liberal education 
which Andover had to offer Oscar Harris, this was 
not the least ; and David McGregor proved to be a 
noble exponent, — quite unconsciously, — of equal- 
ity and democracy. 



All his life Oscar had lived in warm climates. 
As a child in Texas and as a youth in Southern 
France and Italy, he had seldom seen snow, and 
he had never known what it is to be cold, really 
chilled through to the bone. Hence he had 
looked forward with dread to the coming of the 
New England winter, which his mother had de- 
scribed to him as a season of sore throats, influ- 
enza, and pneumonia. When he peered out of his 
window on the morning after his return from the 
Christmas holidays, he could see nothing but a 
wide level plain of white, stretching all the way 
down to the woods. Here and there beaten tracks 
indicated that people had been out on snowshoes 
or skiis. The paths which he had been accus- 
tomed to follow on the runs were now completely 
obliterated, covered by nearly a foot of hard- 
packed snow. When he set out for the " Bean- 
ery," he noticed that the broad Main Street, an 
important highway between Boston and Portland, 

had been cleared by scrapers so that automobiles 



could run without much difficulty; but the snow 
was piled in gigantic drifts on each side. The 
boys were wearing enormous flapping overshoes 
and heavy ulsters, although most of them incon- 
sistently refused to put on hats. Oscar, in his fur 
coat, was by no means set apart, for there were 
many garbed precisely as he was. There could be 
no doubt that winter had descended on Andover 

Oscar's first expedition, after he had reported at 
the Registrar's office, interviewed his Class Officer 
for the making out of his schedule, and unpacked 
his trunks, was to the Gymnasium, where he made 
inquiries about the track program for the term. 
He was informed that he ought, first of all, to pass 
off his " efficiency tests " if he desired to be abso- 
lutely free for running. Going then to Dr. 
Rogers's headquarters, he obtained permission to 
take the necessary trials at once. These were of 
various kinds, designed to give proof of strength, 
endurance, agility, and courage. In the high 
jump, Oscar, although he had never practised the 
event, managed to clear three feet, nine inches, 
thus securing fifteen out of a possible twenty 
points. It was easy for him to cover the half- 
mile in less than two minutes, fifty seconds, and 


thus obtain the maximum of twenty points. As 
soon as this was over, Dr. Rogers examined his 
heart and lungs, and Oscar was pleased to notice 
the physician's smile as he listened through the 
stethoscope. " You are certainly still improving, 
Harris," he commented. " Far faster than I ever 
thought you could do it. And you must have put 
on at least fifteen pounds since last fall." 

" Exactly thirteen," said Oscar, with pardonable 

With the thigh flexion, better known as the 
" belly grind," Oscar had a little difficulty, but he 
managed to perform that extraordinary operation 
some nine times, thus obtaining fifteen more 
points. Those unfamiliar with such things may 
be interested to know that this exercise consists 
in hanging from a bar with one's hands and lifting 
the legs until the toes touch the bar overhead, — a 
real ordeal for obese middle age but simple for the 
young and supple. He had next to climb a pole 
hand-over-hand, a difficult task for him because 
his arms were not well developed as yet, and he 
was still tall and ungainly. Twelve feet was as 
high as he could go, — an addition of ten points to 
his score. Last of all he had to dive into the tank 
and swim a hundred yards, — a very simple propo- 


sition for a lad who had been brought up in salt 
water and to whom a swim of a mile was nothing. 
He was readily allowed the full twenty points for 
this test. " Doc " Rogers told him that this 
swimming was a trial which even experienced 
athletes sometimes fail to pass. " Why," he said, 
" look at Chuck Ellis, the quarter-back on the 
Varsity. He has never been able to take a dive, 
and of course he hasn't yet received full credit for 
physical efficiency. He is coming around this 
afternoon for one more try, but I doubt whether 
he can make it. He has always been afraid of 
water, and nothing can seem to eliminate that 
fear. Yet you know that on the football field he 
wouldn't be terrified of 'Red' Grange and 
'Eddie' Mahan combined! " 

When Oscar emerged dripping but triumphant 
from the tank, Dr. Rogers certified him as " phys- 
ically efficient," with a rating of eighty out of a 
total of one hundred. "You'll do better than 
that in a few weeks," commented Dr. Rogers. 
"But you've made a fine showing considering 
what you were last September. And now you're 
free to enroll in any form of competitive sport 
which you like. I suppose you're going to run, 
aren't you? " 


" Yes, sir! That's what I'm going to Iry to do. 
And may I go over to the Case Memorial and 
start this afternoon? " 

" So far as I am concerned, it's all right. Only 
don't be in too great a rush. You had better con- 
sult Mr. Shepley, the Track Coach, right away 
and find out what he wants you to do." 

Oscar, quite satisfied with his progress thus far, 
dressed himself and went out to find Mr. Shepley, 
who was in the Case Memorial, — a great indoor 
athletic field, with a dirt floor for baseball and 
field events and a gallery with a hanging track 
for the longer runs. The roof was entirely of 
steel and glass, so that it was well lighted; and, 
even in the dead of winter, when the snowdrifts 
were two or three feet deep upon the playing- 
fields, it was possible for the boys to practise bat- 
ting and carry on their regular training in such 
sports as jumping, weight- throwing, and pole- 
vaulting. The building was a gift to the academy 
from a distinguished alumnus in memory of his 
son, — a young fellow who had played on the nine 
but had died during the following summer from 
the effects of an operation. Oscar, who had seen 
something of this structure during the late fall, 
was more than ever amazed at its huge size and 


at the number of different sports which could be 
carried on there at one time. 

Seeing Mr. Shepley in a corner watching some 
shot-putters, Oscar went up to him and said, 
" Mr. Shepley, Fm not much good, but I should 
like to go out for track this winter. I'm ready to 
start right away if you'll let me." 

Mr. Shepley, — ^who was known to everybody at 
Andover as " Shep," — was a broad-shouldered, 
heavily built man of thirty-five, who was still ex- 
ceedingly light on his feet and quick in his mo- 
tions. He had played a good game of football in 
his college days, and some of his records in the 
weight events were still standing. Among the 
boys he was very popular, for he was always even- 
tempered, believed in a policy of encouragement, 
and never failed to give each candidate a square 
deal. He was the regular coach for all track ath- 
letics, but under him was " Larry " Spear, a 
younger man, not long out of the university, who 
had won a place at the Olympic Games in the 
1500-metre race and had a national reputation as 
a distance runner. Shep preferred to have the 
track events in the hands of " Larry " Spear, at- 
tending himself to the field work. 

" Hello, what's your name? '' inquired Shep, 


who had never noticed Oscar before. The boy's 
spectacles and thin legs did not give him the out- 
ward semblance of a champion. 

"Harris, sir," 

" Harris? Harris? Aren't you the fellow that 
did some work with the cross-country squad? I 
think IVe heard about you." 

"Yes, I did go out once or twice with them, 
but, of course, I'm mighty green." 

"So was everybody once," said Shep laconi- 
cally. " Got anything to do just now? " 

"No, I don't have any classes until to-mor- 

" Just throw off your clothes and jog around the 
track a lap or two. I want to get an idea as to 
how you run." 

Oscar obediently took off his overcoat and other 
outer garments, appearing at last clad like a 
Vogue advertisement in his " B. V. D.'s." Shep 
then called to Larry Spear, who was working in 
another corner of the cage. He was a beautifully 
built specimen of physical vigor, about five feet, 
ten inches in height, and perfectly proportioned. 
Oscar had often admired him as he led some of 
the runners around the cinder track with long easy 
strides. "Larry," said Shep, "here's another 


candidate for your * milers/ Don't you recognize 

" Of course I do," replied Larry. " It's Harris, 
isn't it? I'm glad you're coming out. I've seen 
you starting off with Kid Wing and his gang." 

" Yes, I've done a little running with him," an- 
swered Oscar modestly, as Larry shook his hand. 
" But I've never had any one tell me how it should 
be done." 

"Suppose we try you out a bit," said Shep. 
"Now, Oscar, you go up to the track and trot 
around twice at an easy gait. We want just a 
line on your style." 

Oscar promptly started out, going rather slowly 
at first, and then tearing at top speed down the 
last straightaway in obedience to a shouted in- 
junction from Shep. 

" That'll do," said the coach, as Oscar, breath- 
ing rather heavily, came up from the finish. 
" Where did you begin to run? " 

" I never was on a track until last fall. Then 
I got so sore at myself because I was put in with 
the physical wrecks that I made up my mind to 
develop myself. One day I just happened to fol- 
low after the cross-country squad, and it was so 
easy to keep up that I asked permission to go with 


them. I've been practising every day since, ex- 
cept during the Christmas vacation." 

" You're not really so bad," said Shep. " What 
do you think of him, Larry? " 

" Well," said Larry, turning to Oscar after a 
moment's thought, " of course you have your 
faults, like all beginners, but I noticed when I 
watched you running with Kid Wing last fall that 
you evidently had stamina, which is essential in 
running the mile. From what Dr. Rogers tells 
me, you have been developing very rapidly since 
then, and because of this you are lacking in speed. 
Although you may not realize it, speed is just as 
important to a good miler as stamina is. Also 
your carriage is awkward, and, in improving that, 
you will add to your speed and endurance. Let 
me explain a minute. If you could have seen 
yourself when you were running, you would have 
noted that you were kicking your heels up behind 
you. Now this is lost energy. What you want 
to do is to bring them right forward when you 
pick them up. Furthermore, lift your knees a 
trifle higher when you stride forward and light on 
the balls of your feet instead of in a flat-footed 
manner. Then your back and shoulders were 
held in too stiff a position, and you were leaning 


backwards. Instead of this, you should lean 
slightly forward so that the weight of your body- 
will be over the ball of your foot when you light 
on it. Keep your elbows a little closer to your 
body, and take a long, easy stride without tense 
muscles; that's the kind that covers ground. 
There's a long lecture for you. Do you think that 
you can remember it all? " 

" I'll certainly do my best," answered Oscar, 
trying his best to conceal the discouragement 
which he felt. 

"Don't be pessimistic," continued Larry. 
"You really are a natural runner, and I think 
that we can get rid of your more obvious weak- 
nesses in no time at all. All you need is patience 
and industry; and so far as I can see, you have 
plenty of both. You may not get to be a world- 
beater in a week, but some day you'll be winning 
races at college if you keep at it, and take care of 

" Til do anything to learn how to run," burst 
out Oscar, with an enthusiasm which made the 
older men smile. 

"All right, that's settled," said Shep. "You 
turn up here at two-thirty this afternoon, and 
Larry will take charge of you for a while. In two 


weeks I'll have a look at you to see how you are 
getting along." 

That was the beginning of a significant change 
in Oscar's routine. He was now for the first time 
to be really busy, with every minute occupied. 
Each afternoon, as soon as lunch was over, he 
went to the Gymnasium, changed his clothes, and 
reported to Larry Spear in the Case Memorial. 
For two or three days he did nothing but run up 
and down on the dirt floor, trying to carry out 
Larry's instructions about the way to manage his 
feet and arms. He took special breathing exer- 
cises for the enlargement of his lung capacity. 
When his labors were over, usually about three- 
thirty, he would strip, take a cold shower, and 
have a refreshing plunge in the pool. He found 
himself at first very tired and drowsy at night, 
and he was glad to crawl between the sheets at ten 
o'clock. But he awoke each morning eager for 
more training, and Larry had to caution him re- 
peatedly not to overdo his practice. " You must 
keep yourself fresh and alert," he kept saying. 
" If you carry actual running too far, you'll get 
stale, and that's fatal! " It was a strange fact 
that he was meanwhile steadily improving in his 
studies. He realized, after two weeks of this sort 


of thing had gone by, that his regular habits and 
robust health were enabling him to work more 
rapidly and that his mind seemed to be clearer 
than it ever had been before. 

It used to interest Oscar immensely to see the 
complicated machine that was in motion at the 
Gymnasium and the Case Memorial, where some 
of the faculty never went. He would pause on 
the " Gym " floor to watch dozens of boys per- 
forming grotesque antics in order to qualify for 
some physical tests; in the pool he would come 
across Mr. Dale, the Swimming Goach, showing 
a group of what the Phillipian called " natators " 
how to dive and plunge ; on the hockey rink, as he 
ran across from the " Gym " to the Case Memo- 
rial, he could see sweatered figures darting here 
and there, chasing a puck over the ice; in the 
gallery of the cage would be small squads of 
fencers awkwardly handling the foils; and on the 
floor of the enclosure around him there were al- 
ways hurdlers and shot-putters and sprinters, each 
one intent on some particular task. Even these 
were not all, for, in secluded rooms in the Gym- 
nasium there were boxers and wrestlers preparing 
for matches, and at some hours on the " Gym '' 
floor the basketball team would be assembled for 


practice. Everywhere, it seemed to Oscar, stu- 
dents were being taught how to acquire strength 
for the burdens of life. Body was not being made 
more important than mind; it was taken as con- 
tributing to it. Habits of cleanliness and regular 
exercise were being fostered which would last most 
of these boys throughout their careers. 

Little by little Oscar could feel that he was 
improving. His intelligence made him quick to 
catch and apply a suggestion, and he was an apt 
pupil. Occasionally Larry Spear would praise him 
when he did especially well. Soon he was practis- 
ing how to start with the gun. Once a week he 
was allowed to go into a real race with some of 
his competitors, and he learned the joy of win- 
ning over a friendly rival. It somehow gave him 
renewed confidence when he discovered that there 
were others who were not so good as he was. 
" By George, Bull," he said one evening, " do 
you know that I beat four fellows in a mile * try- 
out ' this afternoon? " 

" Good for you, Oscar," replied Bull. " That's 
what you need most of all, — self-assurance! I'll 
tell you right now that when you once get in your 
head the idea that you can win, that's half the 


" Well, I'm not going to get ' cocky/ " answered 
Oscar, "because there are three or four still 
who are better than I am. But I'm going to beat 
them yet." 

One of the important events of the Winter Term 
is always the big carnival of the Boston Athletic 
Association, commonly called the " B. A. A. 
Games," in which there is included a relay race be- 
tween Andover and Exeter. It invariably arouses 
great enthusiasm among the followers of track 
sports. The Andover team was composed of a 
quartette of experienced men, headed by Phil 
AUen, a brilliant quarter-miler. Two weeks be- 
fore the meet, everything looked bright for An- 
dover. And then, in quick succession, two of the 
four were incapacitated: Henry Downing, the 
second-best sprinter, fell ill with the mumps and 
had to go home; and " Charlie " Nolan, always a 
reliable performer, was operated on in the Infir- 
mary for appendicitis. On the next afternoon 
Larry Spear called the runners together for a final 
look at them. Only PhH Allen and "Fritz" 
Allis were left on the relay team. 

" Fellows," announced Larry, as the twelve or 
fifteen men gathered round him, " we're up 
against it. There are only a few days left for 


training, and we've got to rely on some absolutely 
green men. I'm going to pick ' Barney ' Wright 
and*' — ^he hesitated for a fraction of a second, 
— "and Harris." Oscar felt a trembling at the 
knees. " It can't be," he thought. " I must have 
heard wrong." And then he heard his friend, 
Mark Stackpole, at his side say, " Congratula- 
tions, old man. You've got a chance now." To 
have some one say that to him was a great en- 
couragement in itself. 

For the next ten days Oscar was so excited that 
he could hardly eat. Larry had to get him aside 
and warn him. " Harris, you're all on edge. 
Calm down, or you'll go to pieces. To-morrow 
afternoon there'll be no practice of any kind. I 
want you to go back to your room, with the most 
thrilling detective story in the Library, and forget 
all about track meets and relay races. If you 
turn up again as nervous as you were to-day, I'll 
fire you off the team. I mean it ! " 

This threat, which had a sincere ring about it, 
made Oscar assume an outward calm, but in- 
wardly he was seething. He dreamed again and 
again of coming in yards ahead of his Exeter 
opponent, and stepping up to receive the gold 
medal which would be his reward. He could 


even hear the adulation of his fellows as he came 
ba€k to his room after the victory. His horn's in 
the classroom seemed interminable. 

On the evening before the race, Larry Spear 
gave the team some sound advice, warning them 
of the peculiarities of their Exeter rivals and out- 
lining the strategy which would be used. Oscar 
was to run third, with Phil Allen, the blond 
sprinter, coming last. It was to be Oscar's busi- 
ness, — so Larry informed him, — not to lose any 
more distance than he could help doing, and to 
enable Phil to triumph over his Exeter opponent 
as the race ended. On Saturday morning it was 
impossible for Oscar to concentrate his mind on 
his studies. No matter how hard he controlled 
himself, he kept thinking of the responsibility 
which rested upon him. During the early after- 
noon he followed Larry's instructions and played 
checkers with Mark Stackpole; but he hardly won 
a game. He was thankful when the time arrived 
for going to the train; and the trip in was made 
endurable by the constant " jollying " which was 
going on, especially between Shep and Larry, who 
never tired of playing practical jokes on each 

Almost before he knew it, he was in the dress- 


ing-room, drawing on his running trunks, and Phil 
Allen, coming along and slapping him on the back, 
had cried, ''Buck up, old top!" He was fol- 
lowed by Larry, who said, '' Here, Oscar, put on 
a smile! It isn't a funeral, you know! In an 
hour it'll all be over/' Oscar wondered how any- 
body could speak so casually about a race which 
to him seemed so momentous. It did not occur 
to him that Phil and Larry had been in dozens 
of similar contests, and that their coolness was 
the product of long experience. 

As Oscar stepped into the open, before a crowd 
of at least ten thousand spectators, he felt as if 
the whole world were staring at him. His knees 
were knocking together, and he could almost hear 
his heart beating like a trip-hammer. A weak 
sensation swept over him; there was a colossal 
hollow at the pit of his stomach, and he seemed 
to be completely helpless. His attention was 
concentrated for a few seconds on the problem 
of keeping his ankles from bending under him. 
Then he heard Larry Spear say, " Go out and 
warm up with the others on the track for a min- 
ute or two. You'll have more confidence when 
your legs begin to move." 

Larry's calm manner did a little to reassure 


Oscar, and he automatically followed Phil Allen 
in his motions as the latter took little short sprints 
up and down and then raised his knees as far up 
in front of him as he could reach. Once as Oscar 
stopped he could hear the Andover rooters giving 
a '' long Andover, with Allen on the end! " He 
pricked up his ears and listened, — ^yes, there it 
was, the familiar sound! Then the cheer-leader 
shouted, " Two and one for Harris, twice! " They 
were cheering him! It was the first time in his 
life that such a thing had happened! The noise 
was like stirring music to his soul. Oscar glanced 
at Phil Allen, who was completely imconcemed; 
once he stooped over to tie his shoe-lace tighter 
and occasionally he rose on his toes to make sure 
that his muscles were functioning properly. 
Watching him, Oscar found himself a little less 
nervous and breathing rather more freely. 

At last the men were called to the starting 
mark. The Andover-Exeter race is the only in- 
terscholastic event in the evening at the 
" B. A. A.'' games, and it usually arouses more 
intense enthusiasm among the spectators than any 
of the college contests. A silence fell over the 
throng as the two first runners lined up, Fritz 
AUis, Andover's representative, side by side with 


the Exeter sprinter. The starter gave his final 
instructions. Then there was the report of the 
pistol, and they were off! The track has three 
laps to the quarter-mile, and, as the regulation 
relay distance is a mile, each man has to go three 
times around. Neck and neck the two dashed on, 
hardly a foot apart as they completed the circuit 
twice. Meanwhile Barney Wright, Andover's sec- 
ond man, prepared to receive the baton from 
Fritz's hand. The two rivals sprinted around 
the curve, the Exeter man apparently gaining 
slightly; but on the final straightaway, Fritz 
pulled up abreast of him and came to the starting 
point perhaps a flash of an eye ahead of his op- 

Like an arrow from a bow, Barney Wright was 
off down the boards, and Oscar, his teeth chatter- 
ing, got into position ready to take his turn. Shep 
spoke a few words of encouragement into his ear, 
and Phil Allen, standing by his side, said, " You'll 
do it all right, Oscar! Just keep your nerve." 
Meanwhile the two runners were bounding on, 
Barney, — who was, like Oscar, an untried man, — 
falling ever so little behind. As they swept into 
sight at the end, Oscar could see that the Exeter 
runner was in the lead by a yard or two, and real- 


ized that he would have to give his opponent, 
'' Sid '' Bixby, a handicap of several feet. He 
stood expectantly on the mark, still trembling, — 
not with fear but with excitement. The Exeter 
man dashed in first, and then, like a whirlwind 
came Barney. Oscar seized the baton, and, with 
" Go it! " ringing in his ears, started off. From 
the speed with which Bixby started, it was ap- 
parent that he hoped to run Oscar right off his 
feet. But Oscar had been carefully coached and 
knew exactly what he was doing. Larry had said 
to him just before the race, '' Remember, Harris, 
you are not a sprinter. You must be careful not 
to run yourself out during the first lap and then 
die at the close of the second. No matter how 
hard this Bixby tries to run away from you, keep 
your head. This kind of a race takes brains as 
well as sinews, and I want you to show that you 
have both." 

Oscar's first sensation was one of relief that his 
legs were actually moving. He found, to his sur- 
prise, that he was going along quite easily, with- 
out any inconvenience, behind Sid Bixby. He 
even noticed that his opponent seemed to be 
straining to get a commanding lead, but, follow- 
ing his instructions, he made no attempt to catch 


him. As they finished the second lap, Oscar was 
perhaps ten feet behind, and the Exeter stands 
were a raving, shouting mass of humanity. But, 
once in action, Oscar found himself amazingly 
cool. He knew precisely when he would start his 
sprint, and, as the two entered the back stretch, 
he let loose his reserve energy. Inch by inch and 
then foot by foot he could see himself drawing 
nearer to his rival, who was obviously running 
with difficulty. Consciousness of this fact gave 
Oscar added power. He was not aware of the yell- 
ing thousands; he could not have told whether 
they were silent or cheering; but he was certain 
that he could beat the Exeter man if only he had 
distance enough. As they rounded the last curve 
and started down the straightaway, he was still a 
foot behind, but gaining. On they went side by 
side. Oscar was desperately swinging his arms to 
give himself impetus. His muscles were now very 
tight, and his teeth were clenched. He saw Phil 
Allen ahead of him, waving encouragement with 
his outstretched arm, waiting to receive the baton 
from his hand. With a final lunge forward, he 
thrust it out, felt Phil seize it, and staggered to 
the side of the track, only to be held up by the 
arms of the onlookers. First among them was 


Mark Stackpole, who said, " Bully for you, old 
top! We've got 'em! Phil can trim that fel- 
low Hawkins without half trying! You've given 
him a corking start! " 

It had all been over so quickly that Oscar could 
hardly believe that his part was done. But he 
straightened up, pulled around himself the blan- 
ket which some kindly disposed person had 
thrown over his shoulders, and waited to see the 
finish. Sure enough, Phil Allen, with the advan- 
tage of a full yard which Oscar had given him, was 
running away from the Exeter man, who was not 
in good condition. In the end Phil crossed the 
finish line at least five yards ahead. It was 
a conclusive Andover victory, in not far from 
record time. " Why," thought Oscar, as he walked 
to his dressing-room, " Phil would have won for 
us, no matter what I did ! " And then, along with 
this idea, came the consoling recollection, "Any- 
how, I beat my man! " 

In the dressing-room Oscar had his first taste 
of glory, — the glory which, in every age, has been 
assigned to physical prowess. Man after man 
whose face he did not recognize came up to shake 
his hand, saying, "Fine race, Oscar! " or "Well 
run, Harris! " Some one handed him a medal. 


but he had no time to look at it. Most satis- 
factory of all to Oscar was the moment when 
Larry appeared and said, "Well, Harris, you're 
going to make a 'miler,' I think. If you can 
keep from getting conceited over this victory, 
you'll turn out all right." And so, after the long 
ride home in the train and the cold journey up 
the hill to Wendell Hall, Oscar, somewhat bewil- 
dered, a little tired, but very, very happy, fell 
into a dreamless sleep. He had made good! 



Oscar's new friendships with such fellows as 
Kid Wing and Bull Taylor had brought him 
gradually into contact with a society about which, 
during the fall term, he had known nothing. Fur- 
thermore, his appearance on the track squad, to- 
gether with the fact that he was picked for the 
relay team, made him a familiar figure to the 
student body. Soon he noticed that he was be- 
ing spoken to cordially on the street by men who 
had hitherto contented themselves with the in- 
different greeting of conventionality. On one or 
two occasions he actually found himself walking 
across the campus with Steve Fisher, who, as 
President of the senior class, was undoubtedly 
the most important man in school. He became 
well acquainted, moreover, with Hal Manning, in 
whom he detected a kindred spirit; and he even 
discovered by experience that the gayly dressed 
Ted Sherman was a genial and unselfish soul at 

heart. In short, Oscar could see signs that he was 



being accepted by the members of a kind of inner 
circle, composed of those who really shaped un- 
dergraduate opinion. Such a group there must 
inevitably be in a school like Andover, — a group 
made up of the men who do things, who have 
the capacity for leadership, and in whom their 
mates have confidence. They are not always 
athletes, although they are likely to be; but they 
do possess personality and the heaven-sent fac- 
ulty of getting along with others. As he became 
more intimate with fellows of this type, Oscar's 
outlook on life broadened. He saw that, in spite 
of some mistakes, boys judge one another with 
real shrewdness and discernment, and can usu- 
ally pick the wheat from the chaff. 

If such a society as a true democracy ever has 
existed, it must be in a great American school, in 
which boy meets boy in the beginning on abso- 
lutely even terms, each individual student start- 
ing with the same chance, regardless of his pre- 
vious surroundings or antecedents. Naturally in- 
terested in human nature, with all its frailties 
and obsessions, Oscar saw around him boys of 
every conceivable type, representing a hundred 
difiPerent outlooks on life and the world in general. 
On the same floor with him, for instance, lived 


" Dutch " Von Bernuth, a young Hollander, the 
son of a prosperous Amsterdam merchant, who 
had sent his heir to the United States to learn 
American business methods and get in touch with 
transatlantic affairs. Dutch used to call on Oscar 
with some frequency, largely at first because of 
the latter's familiarity with Europe, and espe- 
cially with Holland, which brought about a con- 
geniality between the two. Later, however, there 
developed a real friendship, based on a certain 
similarity in dispositions. Dutch was a frail-look- 
ing lad, with the manners of a courtier and a slight 
foreign accent which lent charm to his speech. 

" Didn't you have a hard time getting accus- 
tomed to this place? " asked Oscar of him one 
day as they sat together on the window-seat 
watching the snow float down in enormous flakes 
to the frozen ground. 

" Of course I did. It was like getting adjusted 
to a new world, — like moving from the earth to 
the moon. And there didn't seem to be anybody 
to tell me how to keep from making a fool of 

"I felt exactly the same way,'' said Oscar 
warmly. "Nobody acts as if he cared a hoot 
about what happens to a new fellow." 


''Later on, I found out that there were plenty 
of people watching me all the time. But they 
wanted me to get used to things all by myself. 
It^s the most sensible plan in the end, — coddUng 
never really helped anybody. Did I ever tell 
you how I was fooled about 'Jimmie' Lapham, 
the Chemistry Trof/ when I first came?" 

''No, whaVstheyarn?'^ 

"Well, when I arrived here, they put me in 
Jimmie's 'dorm,' I suppose because I was a for- 
eigner and they were sorry for me. I didn't know 
much about this country, and I couldn't even 
speak good English. One day, when I saw the 
air-brake apparatus on the outside door, I asked 
one of the older fellows what it was. He stopped 
and explained to me very carefully that it was a 
device which Jinmiie Lapham had patented him- 
self for recording the names and hours of arrival 
of any of the boys in his 'dorm' who stayed out 
after eight o'clock. As the door opened and 
shut, the whole thing was automatically regis- 
tered. I swallowed the whole story, for he told 
it without a smile on his face. Do you know that, 
until the close of the fall term, if I ever happened 
to come back late from any place, even if I knew 
that Jimmie wasn't in his room, I always cUmbed 


in at some ground-floor window? One night Hal 
Manning saw me working hard to pry a window 
up and wanted to know why I was getting in that 
way when Jimmie was in Boston at the theatre. 
I told him that I didn't want to get a ' cut ' for 
coming in late, and went on to explain why. 
Didn't I get the ' ha! ha! ' from the crowd? Oh, 
no! Not at all!" 

" Did you ever let Jimmie hear about it? He's 
the kind that would appreciate the fun." 

^^ Maybe I will some day, but I don't like to 
call the unnecessary attention of any of the 'profs ' 
to how green I was." 

"You're not the only greenhorn," said Oscar, 
in his turn. " When I had been here about three 
days, I asked Mr. Randall whether I could smoke 
on my way to class. Of course I used to be a 
regular cigarette fiend in Paris, and Mother didn't 
seem to care much. It all seemed natural enough 
to me to ask the question. But ' Weary ' looked 
at me and thought, I imagine, that I was ' kid- 
ding ' him, for he said, ' Really, Harris, the best 
place for a " prep " to smoke is on the steps of the 
Main Building.' I never questioned what he said, 
and the next morning, after my eight o'clock over 
in Pearson, I strolled across to the Main Building, 


picked out a Fatima, and sat down with my back 
against one of the pillars for a quiet after-break- 
fast smoke. I had been there just about two 
minutes, I guess, when along came the Head, 
walking very fast as he always does. His mind 
was on something else and he didn't see me until 
he got very close; then his eagle eye fell on me 
and he stopped short. Of course I stood up, and 
then he said, 'Are you a student in this academy? ' 
'Yes,' said I, without a quiver, and not even 
throwing the cigarette away. ' What are you 
smoking here for? ' And then I, like the blither- 
ing idiot I was, blurted out, * Mr. Randall told 
me it would be all right.' ' Mr. Randall told you 
that ! ' he repeated. ' Yes, sir,' I went on. ' I in- 
quired whether I could smoke on my way to class, 
and he told me that most fellows preferred the 
porch of the Main Building.' 

" The Head certainly gave me a searching look, 
but I guess he saw that I was a little simple- 
minded, for pretty soon he broke into a loud 
laugh. He couldn't break off for two or three 
minutes, but finally he calmed down and gave me 
a lecture, — a kind one, all right, but without any 
sugary stuff, — explaining how things were done 
in Andover. I can remember almost every word 


he spoke. ' He didn't even ask me my name, but 
when he got ready to close, he said, ' If I were 
you, my boy, I should get rid of those cigarettes 
until I had acquired a decent physical devel- 
opment. Here you are built a good deal like a 
shoe-string and not any stronger than a fair-sized 
rabbit. If I were your father, I should be 
ashamed to own my son. But, if you feel that 
you must smoke that thing, take it down in the 
Grill where the school loafers sit around in the 
morning, and don't let yourseK be caught with 
a cigarette in your mouth on the street or in the 
dormitories. Some of the teachers may not be 
so considerate of you as I have been.' He was 
mighty square about it all, and I hardly smoked 
at all after that. Of course since I've been out 
for track I couldn't do it, anyhow." 

" That is certainly a funny story. It's queer 
what simpletons we can be," said Dutch, smiling 
to himself. " I had played soccer in Holland when 
I was just a kid, and I thought I was pretty good. 
Of course I joined the soccer squad and might have 
made the team if I could have kept off * non-ex.' 
But even when all hope of that was gone, I used 
to keep on practising. One afternoon a good- 
looking chap came up to me and said, ' What are 


you kicking in that ridiculous way for?' I was 
a little bit hot for the moment, and, before I 
thought, I answered, ' None of your business, you 
big stiff! ' As soon as I had spoken, I remem- 
bered that the fellow was Roscoe Dale, one of the 
new teachers just out of college. He was so thun- 
derstruck that he couldn't even speak; and finally 
he just flushed up and walked away. After the 
practice was over, I went around to his room and 
apologized. Do you know, he told me that he 
felt so much complimented at being taken for a 
schoolboy that he wasn't really mad at all." 

Dutch's gifts as a story-teller did not keep him 
from having trouble with his school work. He 
was very well endowed mentally, and a psycho- 
logical test would have shown him to be above 
the average of his classmates; but he was repeat- 
edly becoming absorbed in some outside activity 
and neglecting his less-alluring daily tasks. For 
one term he was fascinated with organ-playing 
and commenced taking lessons under Dr. Schleier- 
macher, but he practised so assiduously that he 
flunked all his courses at Christmas and was 
promptly placed on probation, — known by the 
students as " Pro." Shortly after came the terri- 
fying interview with the Head which is the in- 


evitable accompaniment of a vote of probation 
by the faculty. 

" Well, young man," said the Head, as he saw 
Von Bernuth enter his office, "what will your 
father say when he receives this last unsatisfac- 
tory report of yours? " 

" I don't know, sir. He may order me to re- 
turn home right away, but I hope not.'' 

" He may behave like the Chinese Government. 
Last year one of our Chinese boys, Cheng, had a 
very poor record in his studies, and I had to write 
an official notification to the authorities who sent 
him here on a national fund. About a month 
later I received a reply to this effect, — * Send 
home the criminal Cheng immediately at our ex- 
pense and we will have him beheaded.' They 
would have done it, too, and I'm not sure that 
the same kind of rough justice isn't what you 

Dutch assumed one of his characteristic plain- 
tive smiles and replied, " I'd rather keep my head 
for the present, if you don't mind, sir. The trou- 
ble is that there are so many diversions to lead 
one away from his work. I keep wanting to try 
some new game, like chess, and the first thing I 
know, I get an 'F' in History. But I'll agree 


to reform if you'll only let me have one more 

" Very well, Von Bernuth/' responded the 
Head, who, in his broad humanity, could not help 
sympathizing deeply with the lad. '' But just 
remember this, — we can't continue forever mak- 
ing allowances for you just because you come 
from a foreign land. You are bright enough when 
you settle down to business. Your motto ought 
to be, * When I became a man, I put away child- 
ish things.' Now you'd better enter at once on 
a new period of your life, — turn over a new leaf, 
as we say here in America. I don't want to have 
you called before me again." 

" I don't want to come again, either," replied 
Dutch, " at least on this kind of an errand." 

For the benefit of those who do not know 
Dutch, it ought to be said that he did finally 
graduate with his class from Andover, but only 
because two or three of his instructors were af- 
flicted with an attack of generosity just as the 
year closed. 

Young Von Bernuth was only one of many in- 
teresting men whom Oscar was learning to know. 
It is probable that Oscar, when he entered An- 
dover, was not altogether free from the taint of 


superciliousness. He had always associated with 
well-groomed people, who observed the same rules 
of etiquette and used the same precise idiom. Now 
he was thrown with fellows representing every 
rank of society and every sort of breeding. In 
his English class he had on his right the heir to 
one of the largest fortunes in the United States, 
— a shy, inconspicuous boy, with an insignificant 
personality, who never spoke unless he had to 
do so and exerted no influence whatever in the 
school. On Oscar's left was a black-eyed, red- 
cheeked, talkative little lad named Sassoferrato, 
the son of a Sicilian emigrant, who had a cheer- 
ful smile for everybody. He once told Oscar that, 
in the evenings and on holidays, he worked in his 
uncle's fruit-store in Lawrence; and his ambition 
was to become a lawyer and serve in the legisla- 
ture. Between the millionaire's son and the emi- 
grant's child, Oscar would have selected the latter 
as his companion on any basis of choice. 

On several occasions Oscar took a dislike to 
some fellow on account of his voice or his neck- 
tie or some peculiar personal habit. Later, when 
he grew better acquainted with him, Oscar be- 
came aware that the offensive attribute was 
merely superficial, having no relation whatever to 


the soul underneath. One or two incidents taught 
Oscar that he must be very careful not to judge 
others too hastily or on insufficient evidence. 
There was human material of every conceivable 
kind in Andover. It was like life itself, with 
identically the same cross-sections that may be 
found in any small city, — thrifty and improvident, 
aggressive and indolent, liberal and mean, intelli- 
gent and stupid. There were little cliques of 
various kinds, — of " sports," of athletes, of mu- 
sicians, of " fussers," of writers. It was advisable, 
Oscar discovered, to go slow before allying him- 
self with any one group ; and, as a matter of fact, 
he never allowed himself to become too closely 
identified with one more than another. 

Indeed, when he came to think things over, he 
found that his friends were of many different 
kinds. There was an American Indian, named 
Jernigan, with the high cheek-bones and copper 
color of his race, who was a skilful baseball player 
and undeniably the best actor in the academy. 
In native dignity and physical attractiveness he 
was superior to most of the white students. Oscar 
saw him frequently, and enjoyed nothing more 
than talking with him regarding the treatment of 
his people by the United States Government. 


Then there was a dapper little Central American, 
Ramon Cortez, of Spanish ancestry and haughty 
bearing, who had a reputation for untold wealth 
and justified it by the luxury of his apartments 
and the money which he spent on clothes. His 
harmless escapades with young ladies were divert- 
ing to his friends, — especially as he was a little 
bit inclined to boast about his conquests. There 
was one boy, Leslie Ascham, who had spent his 
childhood in Egypt, almost under the shadow of 
the Sphinx and the Pjo-amids, and another who 
had been born and brought up in Jerusalem, 
within sight of the Mount of Olives; and near 
these would be lean and nasal New Englanders, 
who had never been across the Hudson River. 
There were Southerners from Alabama and Texas 
and Kentucky, with soft voices and gentle ways, 
but fiery in their tempers when aroused. There 
were stalwart young men from Western ranches, 
who had always dwelt in the open. There were, 
of course, Chinese and Japanese, meeting each 
other a little suspiciously at first, but often play- 
ing together on the same soccer team as if their 
countries had been friendly for a century. There 
was an Italian, Dannunzio, who admitted that he 
was over twenty-five and who was a fully- 


ordained clergyman in a parish not far from An- 
dover Hill. He preached sermons before his 
Italian congregation on Sundays and then came 
back to his classroom work in Andover on Monday 
morning, indefatigable in his passion for an edu- 
cation more fitted to his profession. 

One of the oddest characters was " Tony " Levy, 
a Polish Jew, who came from the North End of 
Boston. Day after day he failed in his recita- 
tions, but he regularly came up smiling for the 
next attempt. *' Do you know," he once said to 
Oscar, in his indistinct guttural utterance, *' how 
they let me in Andover? I was so dense in my 
studies in grammar school and so full of deviltry 
that each teacher wanted to get rid of me. So 
every one kept promoting me to get me out of 
the way, and before long I was in the top class. 
Then I came here and broke all records by cover- 
ing four years in one. You see they registered me 
as a senior last fall because Mr. Lynton said that 
I ought to be there on the basis of my high-school 
diploma. I kept dropping back at each rating, 
until now I'm in the lowest class, with * kids ' of 
fourteen and fifteen, — and I'm twenty-four. 
Probably at Easter the faculty will bounce me 
out, — ^that's what I deserve, for I can't seem to 


learn anything from books. Too many peasant 
ancestors, I guess! But I'll bet that no other 
man here ever travelled backwards so far in so 
short a time." 

In the course of his observations Oscar came 
to the conclusion that any man with an honest 
purpose, no matter how eccentric he might be, 
was respected by the undergraduates. The stu- 
dent who did not get along was the " smart 
Aleck/' the one who was "fresh'' and thought 
that he knew it all. The cardinal sin in a " prep," 
for instance, was " freshness." Uncouthness, vul- 
garity, effeminacy, — these were drawbacks, but 
they could be forgiven, — '' freshness," never! 
When he tried to define " freshness," he found it 
rather difficult. Talking too much, sneering at 
school customs, wearing "loud" clothes, — ^these 
were all signs of " freshness," but there were also 
others the secret of which Oscar could never pene- 
trate. What he did see, however, was that a 
reputation for "freshness" was exceeding hard 
to outgrow. There were many men who never 
fully recovered prestige after some foolish blunder 
committed inadvertently during the early weeks 
of the course. 

Through talks with men like Steve Fisher and 


Hal Manning, who represented the best element 
in the undergraduate body, Oscar was led into 
further ambitions, the achievement of which 
would demonstrate his versatility. When the call 
for the Dramatic Club appeared, Oscar, who was 
familiar with the theatre, determined to present 
himself as a candidate. The try-out consisted 
merely of the reading of a part assigned by the 
coach, ^' Hook " Edwards, one of the English in- 
structors. When his turn came, Oscar delivered 
with passionate fervor the tragic last speech of 
Othello, beginning: 

* ' Soft you ; a word or two before you go. 
I have done the state some service, and they know't. 
No more of that." 

As he concluded with the words, "And smote him 
thus! " Oscar gave himself an imaginary stab and 
sank limp and lifeless to the floor, to the delight 
of his auditors, who did not hesitate to applaud 
vigorously. Oscar was not ordinarily conceited, 
but he was now convinced that he had the genius 
of a Walter Hampden, and he was sure that he 
could make a " hit " on any stage. On the fol- 
lowing morning, therefore, he was overjoyed to 
read in the Phillipian that he had been assigned 
a part; and he was on time to the second that 


evening when Mr. Edwards met the successful 
competitors. In announcing the various roles, 
Mr, Edwards spoke briefly on their significance: 

" Of course Jernigan will be the hero. He's the 
best actor in school, the only one who can do the 
part decently. As for you, Harris, I'm going to 
use you as Dr. Dryasdust, the funny college pro- 
fessor. It ought to fit you perfectly." 

" But, Mr. Edwards," objected Oscar, much in- 
jured in his pride, " I'm not a humorous actor. 
I never took a comic part in my life. My bent 
is towards tragedy." 

" That doesn't make any difference, Harris. 
You're tall and thin and wear spectacles, and are 
rather funny-looking. All you'll have to do is 
to be natural." 

There was a wave of laughter in the room, and 

Oscar blushed a brilliant scarlet. " But " he 


"But me no *buts,'" said Mr. Edwards, in 
mock cajolery. " Be a good sport ! You're chosen 
by unanimous agreement of the judges, and you'll 
make the sensation of the evening. You won't 
have to do a thing but be yourself. We'll add a 
few delicate touches to your costume, and the 
house will scream itself hoarse/' 


Oscar had reason to feel that this was a dubious 
compliment. He had expected to be assigned a 
role like that of Hamlet or Romeo. Indeed, he 
had seen John Barrymore as the "melancholy 
Dane" in New York during the holidays and 
noticed what he thought to be a similarity be- 
tween himself and that tragedian. When he told 
this to his Uncle Henry, the latter said, " The 
only resemblance I can see is in the legs, — you're 
both skinny! " Nevertheless Oscar persisted in 
his delusion, and now he was inclined to resign 
from the club. But, after the meeting was over, 
Mr. Edwards, who was kind-hearted as well as 
sharp-tongued, stopped him and spoke to him in 
a sympathetic way. 

" Look here, Harris," he said. " There's more 
merit in being a good comedian than in being a 
perfectly rotten hero. You have something of a 
talent for burlesque, and not a vestige for tragedy. 
Why not accept the facts and do your best as Dr. 

" I'll do anything you want to have me do," 
answered Oscar, in a tone of resignation. " But I 
hate to make a display of myself as a fool." 

" We're all fools at one time or another, Oscar. 
Some of us, who happen to have selected teaching 


as a profession, have spent our lives being ridicu- 
lous. After all, you'll make a mighty entertaining 
fool! That's something to be considered! " 

Oscar accepted this tribute with the best pos- 
sible grace and went off in a happier mood. A 
httle serious reflection induced him to decide to 
do his best in the part assigned to him. For a 
month or more, during the stormy February even- 
ings, he studied his lines, imtil he actually be- 
came keenly interested in the character which he 
was representing. The result was that when the 
performance was given, in March, in the new 
auditorium, he was applauded even more than 
Jernigan and had to show himself four or five 
times before the curtain. In the next Phillipian 
Oscar was delighted to read a criticism of the play, 
written by his English teacher, Mr. Loring, in 
which the latter said: 

" Quite the most finished acting of the evening 
was done by Harris, who made the character of 
Dr. Dryasdust very real to the audience. It is a 
pleasure to see an undergraduate catching the 
subtlety of a part like this and presenting it so 
intelligently. Harrises interpretation was the suc- 
cessful product of intelligence plus wise instruc- 

Oscar's imlucky experience with secret societies 


during the fall term had made him chary of any 
references to them, and he had resolved to drive 
them from his mind forever. It was evident, as 
he looked about, that students who deliberately 
tried to get into the good graces of society men 
seldom succeeded in their aim. He was deter- 
mined that he would keep steadfastly on his way, 
regardless of what fraternities might mean in un- 
dergraduate life. It happened that his rehearsals 
on the Dramatic Club threw him into intimate 
contact with Hal Manning, who had called fre- 
quently at his room, once or twice bringing other 
fellows with him. The conversation on these oc- 
casions was very general, and Oscar attached no 
significance whatever to it. He recalled later, 
however, that Hal had asked him a few questions 
regarding his family and his life abroad. Things 
came to a climax on one March evening, when 
Hal said to him, " Oscar, I suppose you have been 
told that your father was K. P. N. here? " 

"Yes, I knew it because Mother gave me his 
pin, and IVe always kept it/' 

" How would you like to join that crowd your- 
self? " 

" Say, Hal, are you planning to initiate me into 
another fraternal organization? I should think 


that once with you would be enough. It is for 

" No, this is serious. I don't blame you much 
for shying, but really, Oscar, you've changed a 
good deal since last September, you know. We 
all want you, and you'll be in the crowd with 
Steve Fisher and me. Besides, I should think 
that you would like to go the way your dad 

" I do, Hal. But you've got to admit that this 
invitation is just a little sudden. I can't get used 
to the fact that you and Steve want me in 
K. P. N." 

" Then you'll give us your pledge? " 

" If you're being straight with me, I certainly 
will. It's the only society I should ever join. 
But if this is another joke, I'll never forgive you." 

It was no joke. Before the term was over, 
Oscar had been formally initiated, this time with- 
out a river bath, and was wearing the jewelled 
pin of K. P. N., the same symbol which his fa- 
ther had been proud to display. Oscar was glad 
to realize that there were those among his com- 
rades who had confidence in him and his future. 
He accepted the honor as evidence of his progress 
towards maturity. 


One morning during the week while Oscar waa 
" running " for the society, Ted Sherman, who 
was a member of Q. M. C, met Hal Manning on 
the street. 

" Hi, Hal,'' he shouted. " Say, who's this Harris 
you're taking into that punk society of yours? " 

"Why, it's Oscar Harris, the relay team man, 
a good deal better fellow than anybody in your 
wretched gang of shysters." 

"Oscar Harris! I know him, of course. But 
isn't he the same chap we saw last fall when he 
was entering, and didn't you and I claim that 
there was nothing in him? " 

" Sure, that's right, we did! " answered Hal, re- 
calling the incident. "And you wanted to bet 
twenty-five dollars that he wouldn't last over 
Christmas! " 

" I remember. Well, something must have hap- 
pened to him, or else you K. P. N. men are draw- 
ing a blank." 

" No, he's a real fellow. He's changed a tre- 
mendous lot in six months. Even Steve admits 
that he's a presentable kind of person now." 

"Well," said Ted, as he started on his way, 
"I'm going to retract all that I ever said about 
the influence of Andover. If it can make Oscar 


Harris into a normal human being, it can do 
anything. Steve was right. The fellow had good 
stuff in him, and it was brought out here in the 
regular Andover way.'* 



It was while he was in the midst of rehearsing 
for the annual dramatic performance that Oscar 
was accidentally involved in an affair which gave 
him some publicity with the authorities and 
seemed likely at one time to terminate his An- 
dover career. About quarter to eight one evening, 
when it was already quite dark, he discovered that 
he had left his Latin Composition book in his seat 
in Pearson Hall and rushed hurriedly out of his 
dormitory, without troubling to put on an over- 
coat, in the hope that he might be able to get it. 
Rather to his relief, the door of the recitation 
hall proved to be unlocked, and, dashing up-stairs 
to Professor Foster's classroom on the top floor, 
he quickly picked up the volume which he had 
missed. As he stepped back into the corridor, 
he had a fleeting glimpse of two figures rushifig 
rapidly down the stairs, and, although the shad- 
ows there were thick, he was sure that he recog- 
nized them as two students who sat near him in 



his Virgil section. He shouted, " Hello, there! " 
but there was no reply, except from the rever- 
berating echoes from wall to wall. Somewhat 
startled at these apparitions, Oscar turned back 
to the classroom which he had left, pressed the 
electric-light button, looked around to make sure 
that no one was concealed there, and even in- 
vestigated the little conference-room connected 
with it. Nothing could he see or hear! In his 
bewilderment he did not think of inspecting Pro- 
fessor Bannard's room at the other end of the 
building, but decided to beat a retreat as soon as 
possible. When he had descended, however, he 
was confronted by the fact that the outside door 
had apparently been locked while he was up- 
stairs and that he was therefore shut in. Again 
he paused for reflection. There was something 
mysterious abroad, — something really disturbing. 
It was the work of only a minute or two to enter 
one of the classrooms on the ground floor, un- 
latch a window, and let himself down six or seven 
feet to the solid earth. But, just as he thought 
himself absolutely safe, he was tapped on the 
shoulder by no spirit hand. Turning in some 
confusion, he beheld the uniformed night watch- 
man who had the guardianship of the school plant. 


"Ah, young man," ejaculated the ofl&cer of the 
law in a stern manner. " What are you doing 
leaving this building in this stealthy manner? " 

"Just hunting up a text-book I left behind," 
explained Oscar, going on to tell how he happened 
to be found emerging from a window, but care- 
fully refraining from any mention of the two 
figures which he had seen. 

" Well, I suppose it's all right," grumbled the 
policeman. '' But there's something funny about 
this. Here I come along and find the door wide 
open, lock it up, and then you come shooting out 
of a window. I'll just take down your name in 
case there's any trouble later. Tve got to fulfill 
my duty." He took out a note-book, wrote down 
Oscar's name, with the address, '' Wendell Hall," 
and placed the memorandum back in his pocket. 

" Run along, now, or you'll be marked out," he 
said kindly. " It's almost eight o'clock and the 
last bell is ringing." 

Oscar sped swiftly back to the dormitory, de- 
voted the remainder of the evening to poring over 
the Latin text-book which had caused him so 
much annoyance, and then went to sleep, — a trou- 
bled sleep, haunted by spectres of weird shape and 
color, who seemed to be approaching him from 


a lighted door. In the morning he awoke ready 
to forget the entire incident; but at chapel, after 
the customary prayer, h>Tnn, and Bible-reading, 
the Head stood up behind the pulpit with an un- 
usually serious expression on his face and spoke 
to the school: 

'' Gentlemen, I don't often have to complain in 
this place of any deliberate mischievous and de- 
structive acts on the part of the students at An- 
dover. Regardless of the prevalence of banditry 
and lawlessness in cities. I have been sure that no 
such spirit exists here on this Hill. But something 
happened last night so outrageous that I must 
dwell upon it for a moment. A vandal, — I know 
no better word to describe him. — broke into 
Pearson Hall last night and deliberately mutilated 
one of the most beautiful statues in Professor 
Bannard's Greek room, — a reproduction, the origi- 
nal cost of which was well over two hundred 
dollars. It was the act. not of a practical joker, 
but of a mean and malicious mind, and I cannot 
believe that any one of you was concerned in it. 
But the most careful investigation will be made 
of the affair, and. if any one in this audience was 
among the culprits, he will do well to confess to 
me during the morning. I can understand, toler- 


ate, and even condone childish pranks which do 
no one any harm, but this kind of destruction to 
valuable property is inexcusable." 

The Head's talk naturally made an impression, 
as he had intended it should do, and it was the 
most popular topic of conversation during the 
day. The broken fragments of the statue had 
been collected in the classroom which the un- 
harmed figure had once adorned, and little clusters 
of boys gathered round them to see what damage 
had been done. Oscar himself naturally sat down 
in his room to think out what had occurred on that 
fatal night, and it occurred to him at once that 
he would probably be called as a witness, — the 
watchman would surely report his name. But, 
in his innocence, he never dreamed that he might 
himself fall under suspicion, until, at his eleven 
o'clock class, he was handed a note from the office 
ordering him to report without delay to the Head. 

As it was Oscar's first summons of this nature, 
he was very much perturbed. Without notifying 
his instructor or confiding in any one, he left 
precipitately and ran to George Washington Hall, 
where the Head's Secretary asked him to be seated 
and wait for a moment. In a short time out came 
Ted Sherman, who, seeing Oscar there among the 


mourners, said, " The Head's like a roaring lion 
this morning. If you're going in there, prepare 
to be chewed alive. Here all I've done is to get 
caught out of my * dorm,' and you might think I 
had committed arson." 

When Oscar was ushered into the room, he 
could see that the Head was not in an amiable 

" Good-morning, Harris," he began, in quick 
incisive words, sharper than Oscar had ever heard 
him use before. " I am told that you were seen 
climbing out of one of the windows in Pearson 
Hall last evening just before eight o'clock." 

" Yes, sir, I was." 

" Were you concerned, then, with the mutila- 
tion of the statue in Professor Bannard's room? " 

" No, sir, I was not." 

" What! You weren't? How then do you ex- 
plain your presence in the building at that unusual 
hour? " 

" I had gone back for my Latin Composition 
text-book, which I had left there by mistake in the 

" How did you get in? " 

" I found the door unlocked, sir." 

" Why, then, did you climb out the window in- 


stead of walking out just as you went in? " The 
Head spoke as if he were confident that Oscar was 
in a trap. 

" The door had been locked while I was up- 
stairs by the night watchman, who had found it 
open when he made his inspection. Of course I 
couldn't get through it.'' 

" H'm! " said the Head, in a quandary. " Your 
story has some plausibility. But you will admit, 
Harris, that it would ordinarily sound very sus- 
picious, and that it is even more so in view of 
what is known to have happened in that building 
last evening." 

" Yes, sir, I can readily see your point of view. 
Naturally everybody on the faculty must think 
that I did it. But I didn't, sir, I didn't. The 
facts are precisely as I have stated them." 

" In spite of your declaration, Harris, we shall 
have to investigate your statement very care- 
fully," announced the Head, in concluding the 
interview. " So far, you are unfortunately the 
only one who could possibly have been implicated 
in the affair." 

" Very well, sir," said Oscar, who could only 
with difficulty restrain his tears. " I merely wish 
to tell you again that I had nothing whatever to 



do with the breaking of the statue and that I am 
quite wilhng to submit to any sort of investiga- 
tion which you desire to make. An innocent 
person ought not to be alarmed by any ordeal 
like that." 

As he said this, Oscar looked the Head in the 
eyes in such a straightforward and manly fashion 
that the latter was much impressed. When he 
had first been informed by the night watchman of 
Oscar's unusual method of exit from Pearson Hall, 
he had taken it for granted that the boy had 
been playing what seemed to him to be a funny 
prank. Aware of Oscar's former reputation for 
" queerness," the Head arrived at the logical con- 
elusion that this was simply another indication of 
his oddity. But now, as he listened to Oscar's 
declaration and watched his bearing, he was con- 
vinced in his heart that there must be some error 

" My boy," he said, as he stood up and placed 
his hand on Oscar's shoulder, "when you came 
in here, I had no doubt whatever that you were 
guilty. But I'm bound to admit that I now be- 
lieve your story implicitly. If you are telling me 
a falsehood, then I'm no judge of character. The 
trouble is that all the evidence is so much 


against you, and there seems to be no one else to 

While the Head was speaking in this friendly 
fashion, Oscar was thinking of the two figures 
whom he had seen on the stairs. Six months 
before he would have blurted out the story; now 
he had learned better, and he merely continued to 

" You go out now, Harris/' concluded the Head. 
" Don't worry at all. If I need you, I'll call you 
in later." 

Oscar went out of the room and down the steps 
thoughtfully, his hands in his pockets and his 
mind intent on the problem in which he was so 
strangely involved. When he reached Wendell 
Hall, he described the interview to Bull, giving 
him also an account of what had happened on the 
previous evening; but he held back, even from 
Bull, any reference to the stealthy figures on the 
staircase. Before the day was over most of the 
school knew that Oscar Harris, the runner, was 
under suspicion and might be " fired." Small 
knots of fellows gathered here and there on the 
campus to talk it all over. There was a general 
feeling among the undergraduates that Oscar 
could not possibly be the miscreant, and men 


whom he hardly knew stopped him just to say, 
" Tough luck, kiddo! I don't believe a word of it. 
It'll come out all right." 

A famous member of the New York police 
force had recently lectured to the school on the 
finger-print method of identifying criminals and 
had shown slides filled with mystifying whorls 
and curves. It was currently reported that tell- 
tale finger marks had been found on some of the 
statue fragments and that every boy in the acad- 
emy would be obliged to have his prints taken. 
It was rumored that three detectives had been 
engaged to prowl about in the dormitories hunt- 
ing for evidence. Boys who were familiar with 
"Sherlock Holmes/' "Monsieur Dupin," and 
" Lecoq," scented an opportunity to carry on some 
amateur sleuth work. There was excitement in 
the air like that before an Andover-Exeter game. 

When Oscar had leisure later on that evening 
to meditate on the facts, he let his memory carry 
him back to the moment when he had watched 
the two figures rushing down to the floor below, 
as if engaged on some nefarious business. One he 
was sure was "Phil" Timian; the other he 
thought was " MifP " Stanley. Both belonged to 
what was known as a " fast crowd." Phil had an 


unpleasant fox-like face, with freckles, sandy hair, 
and shifty blue eyes. Miff was of a different type. 
He had round moon-like features, chubby cheeks, 
and a perpetual grin, or leer, so that he resembled 
a guileless cherub, incapable of any deviltry or 
deceit. The two were invariably together, and, as 
the students knew, their comradeship was seldom 
for good. Neither one was depraved nor de- 
bauched, but no one cared to trust them very far. 
They had acquired a reputation for being sly and 
underhanded, and fellows like Steve Fisher and 
Joe Watson utterly despised them. Oscar had not 
met either Phil or Miff that morning, — in fact, he 
knew them only slightly, — ^but he could not help 
wishing that he could have a frank talk with one 
or both of them and ascertain the truth. The 
more consideration he gave to the matter, the 
more certain he became that the two must know 
all about the affair, even if they had not been 
responsible for the actual mutilation. 

For two or three days the one topic of con- 
versation at the " Beanery " and in the Grill was 
" Who broke up the statue? " When Oscar 
slipped into one of the booths at the Grill for 
supper, hoping to escape his well-meaning friends 
at the Dining Hall, he was assailed with queries 


by every passer-by, " What did the Head say to 
you?'' ''Are you going to be 'fired/ Oscar?" 
and " Got any fresh dope to-night? " He did his 
best to avoid the subject, but everybody was eager 
for information. On the next morning he came 
unexpectedly on Phil and Miff talking and 
gesticulating very earnestly behind the Main 
Building and hastened to accost them, but they 
turned and walked away so rapidly that he could 
not follow without giving the impression of 
pursuing them, which he did not care at that time 
to do. In chapel they seemed to be deliberately 
attempting to avoid him, and once when Oscar 
unexpectedly confronted Miff around a corner, 
the latter's complacent grin was replaced by a 
frightened expression. All these incidents con- 
vinced Oscar that he was only too well acquainted 
with the perpetrators of the outrage. 

On the following afternoon Oscar was sum- 
moned once more to the office, — this time into the 
presence of the Head and the members of the 
faculty discipline committee. When he was 
questioned, he persisted in his original account of 
what had occurred on that momentous evening. 
Finally, when the cross-examination was over and 
Oscar sat back in relief, the Head asked in a 


casual way, " Harris, did you see any one in or 
near Pearson Hall that night? " 

"Yes, sir, I did." 

"Who was it?" 

" I'm sorry that I can't inform you, sir." 

" What do you mean? " 

"Nothing, except that I must decline to tell 
you whom I saw on that evening." 

" Do you realize, Harris, that you may be ex- 
pelled from Andover for being connected with this 
unfortunate episode? " 

"Yes, sir, I do, but I cannot, under the cir- 
cumstances, bring evidence against my fellow 

" So it was one of your fellow students whom 
you saw? " inquired the Head, suavely following 
the " lead " that had been given. 

Oscar was much chagrined at his carelessness 
in revealing this detail, and made up his mind to 
watch his tongue. " I'm really sorry, sir, that I 
can't answer any more questions," he said, with 
a slight stammer. " If it is necessary for me to 
be punished for an offense in which I had no 
share, I'll accept the verdict. But please allow 
me to withdraw." 

" I think that we can excuse you now, Harris, 


if you wish to go. But I trust that you will 
reconsider your decision." 

Without daring to say another word, Oscar 
bowed silently, and left the room, leaving the 
puzzled committee to talk over the situation. 

" Gentlemen," resumed the Head when the door 
had closed, " that lad is as innocent as you or I. 
He is simply obsessed by that quaint schoolboy 
idea of honor which forbids him to ' peach ' on a 
'pal.' With him loyalty to a comrade has be- 
come one of the major virtues." 

" That's really strange," remarked Mr. Loring. 
"Didn't I ever tell you that Harris was the 
youngster who tried to tell me last fall that some- 
body was cribbing in my examination? He was 
honestly astonished when I wouldn't listen to 

"Well, some one has taught him the school 
code of honor since then," said Mr. Foxcroft. 
" He's as immovable as a rock at this moment. 
We can all recognize that, whatever he may have 
been earlier." 

" I'm inclined to believe that his present atti- 
tude represents a higher ethical stage," com- 
mented Professor Foster, who had been keenly 
interested in Oscar's attitude towards his inquisi- 


tors. "How about you, sir? What are your 
views on this delicate question of morals? " 

" Under the circumstances I decline to commit 
myself," answered the Head, with a smile. " But 
I know what I should do if I were in Harris's 

" So do we all," added Professor Foster. And 
the committee returned to the business at hand. 

As a result of their debate, which was con- 
tinued until a late hour, the Head on the next 
morning again spoke to the undergraduates: 

" I am sorry that the one responsible for the 
mutilation of Professor Bannard's statue has not 
seen fit to confess. The faculty have already 
accumulated evidence against one member of the 
school who is known to have been in Pearson Hall 
on that evening. This man admits having seen 
at least one of his schoolmates in the building, 
but refuses to disclose his name. We have dis- 
covered on the fragments of the statue some 
finger-prints, which have been carefully preserved 
by a specialist and which are indubitably those of 
the offender or offenders. Unless the guilty per- 
sons appear before me within twenty-four hours, 
I shall be obliged to ask every member of the 
undergraduate body to have his finger-prints 



taken by an expert. I intend to run this matter 
down, regardless of trouble or cost. I sincerely 
hope that those who are culpable will have the 
courage and the honesty to make themselves 

Oscar glanced in the direction of Phil Timian, 
and noticed that he seemed red and nervous. 
After chapel, Oscar watched him as he joined Miff 
Stanley, and strolled with him slowly up to the 
Main Building, evidently concerned with serious 
problems. At last Phil, seeing Oscar behind him, 
halted with his companion, and the two waited 
side by side for Oscar to come along. 

" Hello, Harris," began Phil, with a cordiality 
which did not have the ring of sincerity. " It has 
been mighty white of you not to tell on us." 

" Yes," continued Miff. " You must have rec- 
ognized us right away. We saw you clearly 
enough, and we've been worried ever since. And 
you could have * squealed ' on us at any time." 

"Well, what are you two going to do?" in- 
quired Oscar. " That's what seems important to 
me. It strikes me that it will improve things if 
you own up and take your punishment. You are 
bound to be caught sooner or later." 

" Aw, I don't believe it/* replied Phil, with a 


snarl. " I don't want to be ' fired ' any more than 
you do. My Dad would put me to work in a 
store or throw me out into the street, — I don't 
know which. Besides this talk about finger-prints 
is all ' bunk.' They haven't any clue to go on." 

" I shouldn't be too certain of that," answered 
Oscar. " The faculty know pretty well what they 
are doing. Besides you ought to be men enough 
to own up." The Oscar who was speaking in this 
resolute tone was a very different boy from the 
Alfred Tennyson Harris who had come with his 
mother to Andover in the previous September. 

" Look here, Harris," pleaded MifF, who was 
evidently more open to reason. " It wasn't any- 
thing more than a kid trick, anyway. There was 
nothing criminal about it. Why should there be 
so much excitement over an old statue? " 

" Well, it's likely to cost ' Jove ' Bannard or 
the Trustees some money to replace the thing. 
Personally I don't care what you do. I guess I 
can stand it. But I've been accused of being the 
one who did it, and you're making me the * goat.' 
Is it playing the game square with me? " 

" That's what I keep telling him," said Miff. 
" If you weren't mixed up in it and hadn't been 
so decent, I shouldn't care what happened.'* 


"It's easy enough to advise anybody to con- 
fess," grumbled Phil, " but it's a lot harder to do 

" I'll go with you if you like," suggested Oscar. 

" No, I'm not ready yet," said Phil. " I can't 
just make up my mind about it." 

" All right! " was Oscar's farewell remark as he 
ran off to class. " But the longer you wait, the 
worse it is going to be. It's like having a tooth 
pulled. Go quick, why don't you, and get the 
agony over? " 

Oscar arrived tardy for his English class and 
was so busy for the rest of the morning that he 
gave the conversation no further thought. But 
on his way to lunch he saw the Head a short dis- 
tance away, and, at his beckoning hand, went to 
meet him. 

"Well, Harris," said the Head, in his usual 
buoyant mood, "you'll be glad to hear that we 
have found out the scoundrels who did the dam- 
age. Timian and Stanley have just been spend- 
ing an hour in my office. I am delighted to an- 
nounce that you are completely exonerated." 

" What about them, sir? Will they have to be 

"I'm afraid that the faculty can hardly let 


them off without some fonn of punishment. 
What would you do with them?" With this 
query, the Head looked innocently at Oscar. 

" I don't know, sir. But I can guarantee that 
they're terrified sufficiently. I'll bet that they 
would reform if you could let them back." 

" We can hardly do that just now, in view of 
the stir which they have caused, but perhaps, if 
they make a good record somewhere else between 
now and June, I may be able to persuade the 
faculty to let them return in the fall. We'll see." 

Within a few hours Phil and Miff had packed 
their trunks and taken the train for Boston, on 
their way to their respective homes. Before they 
left, however, they came to Oscar's room and said 
a rather shamefaced " Good-bye! " 

"It was a fool stunt to do," admitted Miff, 
" and we haven't any complaint. But I do hope 
I'll get another chance next year." 

" Yes," added Phil, " and you've been a ' brick,' 
Harris. Some day I may be able to pay you." 

For his part, Oscar was glad that the incident 
was closed. He had had a narrow escape, — one 
which made him shudder to think about. For by 
this time he had made up his mind that Andover 
was the finest school on earth. 



There are times in any young man's develop- 
ment when he seems to be moving forward by 
leaps and bounds, — ^mentally and spiritually, as 
well as physically. Such a period Alfred Tenny- 
son Harris, although not altogether conscious of 
it himself, had been going through ever since his 
arrival in Andover. Freed from his mother's nar- 
rowing restraint, he had taken advantage of all 
the opportunities which had been offered to him, 
and, by meeting responsibility, he had become in- 
dependent. In his appearance he was, of course, 
much altered. His head was more erect, his bear- 
ing was more manly, and he was in robust health. 
Once, in midwinter, Mr. Slater, the Treasurer, 
met him on the street and said, " Good-morning, 
Harris. Has the Dining Hall food turned you into 
skin and bone? " 

"Not exactly, sir. IVe gained nearly twenty 

pounds since last September. That's doing pretty 

well, isn't it?" 



" I thought that you had put on weight. But 
don't you remember how you came in to me to 
complain about the ' Beanery ' food, and the lack 
of delicacies, like jellies and pastries? '' 

" I was certainly a fool, sir. The only fault I 
have to find with it now is that there isn't enough 
raw meat! " 

" You're prepared to recommend it, then, are 
you, Harris? " 

" Yes, and I'm ready to show myself as a liv- 
ing example of what it can do for an habitue of 
Paris restaurants." 

Mr. Slater smiled and went on, quite satisfied 
with the recantation of the former critic. And 
there were other changes which Oscar might have 
mentioned as indicative of his improved condi- 
tion. To his amazement he hardly had a cold all 
winter, — he, who had become accustomed to stay- 
ing in bed ill for weeks at a time with minor in- 
fections, such as sore throats and earaches. His 
power of resisting germs had increased, and he 
seldom now had even a headache. He might have 
been picked out at any time by Dr. Rogers as a 
specimen of perfect health. 

Mentally the boy was steadily growing more 
mature. As he was drawn more and more into 


athletics, he had less time to devote to reading, 
but he did, nevertheless, buy many new books; 
and he discovered that his fine physical condition 
enabled him to get through his classroom prepa- 
ration in much less time than it had formerly re- 
quired. Mr. Loring, who had watched his progress 
in English with much interest, advised him early 
in the term to enter the competition for the 
Brooks-Bryce Prize, awarded to the best article 
by an Andover student on the general subject of 
friendly Anglo-American relations. The prize 
was a large silver cup, presented by a generous 
New York lady who was interested in interna- 
tional affairs. Oscar did not, at first, take the 
suggestion very seriously; but one day in the li- 
brary he came across a shelf of reference books on 
the assigned topic and, picking one up, became 
fascinated by its line of thought. He was led on 
gradually to more exhaustive study, until the ex- 
tent of his researches made the librarian, Miss 
Snow, gasp with astonishment. When he had 
completed the stipulated three thousand words, 
he had it typewritten, and handed it in under an 
assumed name. The running-practice became 
more strenuous at just about this time, and Oscar 
forgot all about his essay. 


On the Sunday afternoon before Washington's 
Birthday, there was a special vesper service in the 
chapel to commemorate the occasion. At this 
time an address was delivered by a professor from 
Harvard University, and then the Head arose and 
announced the winner of the Brooks-Bryce Prize. 
After stating the terms of the contest and thank- 
ing the donor, he went on to say that the judges, 
— three members of the faculty, — ^had awarded the 
trophy to the essay signed " Vera, the Dancer." 
There was some laughter at this peculiar nom de 
plume; and then Oscar, the most surprised man 
in the chapel, walked down the long aisle to re- 
ceive the cup. There was tremendous applause 
from the student body, for Oscar had just been re- 
lieved from the suspicion of having injured the 
statue, and everybody was aware of his efforts to 
shield the real malefactors. The Head smiled as 
he handed the huge trophy to the winner; and 
Oscar grinned broadly in return. As he made his 
way back to his seat, the clapping redoubled. It 
was evidently a popular award. 

A day or two later Mr. Loring called him up 
after class and said, " Harris, have you ever had 
any special training in writing? " 

" No, sir, — that is, nothing unusual. I once had 


a tutor who had some reputation as a biographer, 
and he told me some devices for building up a 
composition. Then my mother has a fair style, 
and she has given me a little instruction." 

" Well, so far as I can see you have a natural 
gift for this kind of thing, and you have made a 
steady improvement. I hope that you'll be able 
to keep it up." 

"It all depends on what I'm best fitted for, 
doesn't it? When Dad was alive, he always 
wanted me to be a lawyer, but so far I have no 
leaning towards that." 

" There's plenty of time yet, of course. But I 
thought I would let you know how I feel." 

" Thanks very much, sir. You're the first 
teacher who ever told me that he was satisfied 
with what I did. It helps." 

" Oh, I'm not satisfied. You can do better still. 
But I do want you to feel encouraged. And, by 
the way, do you know that your winning essay 
will be sent in for the national competition among 
the successful essays from the various schools? It 
has a good chance for first place, I think. If you 
get it, you'll have another gigantic cup and a free 
trip to Europe." 

"Well, I shall not even think about it until 


the track season is over. And that's not until the 
close of school." And with this remark, Oscar 
dismissed the matter from his mind for many 
weeks to come. 

The indications of Oscar's physical and mental 
progress were, perhaps, more obvious than those 
of his character development. Yet to those fa- 
miliar with the facts, it was evident that Oscar 
had won the respect of his associates. Starring 
under an immense handicap, he had becon^e a 
popular senior, and his room had become a place 
to which many fellows liked to come. It was p -* 
decorated, like so many, with school and co'i !* 
banners, photographs of beautiful " choriiifes," 
and advertising signs picked up on adventurous 
raids. There were tapestries in conspicuous 
places, and some extra pieces of furniture had 
been installed to supplement the standard equip- 
ment provided by the school. There were even 
sets of classic authors in fine bindings, — Steven- 
son, Hardy, Anatole France, Arthur Machen, and 
Hugh Walpole, — a strange and interesting assort- 
ment, displaying the catholic taste of the owner. 

Oscar, as the winter term wore on, became very 
fond of his surroundings and kept trying to make 
them more attractive. He was constantly adding 


new volumes to his library or buying another pic- 
ture for his already crowded walls. And then, 
just as he began to feel entirely at home, came a 
tragic catastrophe. 

That there was some smoking in Wendell Hall, 
in defiance of the regulations, Oscar well knew, 
and he wondered why more fellows were not 
caught. Mr. Randall was a very careful proctor, 
who attended strictly to his duties and could be 
counted upon to make the rounds of the different 
rooms at least once every evening, looking in each 

e just long enough to assure himself that the 
imate occupants were all there and that no 
forbidden occupations were being pursued. As 
the hour of his visitation could never be accu- 
rately predicted, the boys were careful to obey the 
rules. Occasionally the report would be circu- 
lated that the instructor was going out to dinner 
or was spending the night in Boston. Then the 
inhibitions would be removed, and there would 
be a vigorous and cleansing " rough-house." Gen- 
erally speaking, however, the order in Wendell 
Hall was excellent, and Oscar was able to devote 
his evenings to study without being disturbed. 
After ten o'clock, however, when the "house 
prof " had presumably retired, there was less re- 


straint, and there Were several men who smoked 
clandestinely, blowing the smoke from a '' good- 
night " cigarette out the window or up the fire- 
place. Oscar himself, as soon as he took up run- 
ning, dropped smoking as a habit, and had not 
resumed it. He knew that it was harmful to his 
wind, and he was not thrilled by the idea of break- 
ing a rule merely because it was a rule. Once in 
a while some one he knew would be detected and 
placed on *' Probation," but the penalty was no 
deterrent to inveterate cigarette fiends. These 
were usually, however, men of little standing in 
the school, who were certain to be dropped before 
the year was over. 

One night just before the close of the winter 
term, Oscar, who was free for a few days from the 
restrictions of training, was sitting up late in front 
of his wood fire, intent on a book which he just 
discovered in the library, — Frazer's one-volume 
edition of The Golden Bough, It was so thrilling 
in its tales of magic and taboo that he felt al- 
most like reading until morning; but common 
sense asserted itself, and, a little after midnight, 
he walked into the corridor to take a shower be- 
fore crawling into bed. The smell of smoke as- 
sailed his nostrils, and he sniffed suspiciously as 


he entered the lavatory, but finally concluded 
that it was only some indiscreet late tobacco 
maniac. His fears a little allayed, he stepped 
under the shower, finished his bath, and started 
back to his room. He could now scent a strong 
odor, — ^not cigarettes this time, but burning wood. 
The smell was unmistakable! Rushing down- 
stairs, Oscar found the corridor on the second 
floor reeking with fumes, and he could see actual 
flames through a transom above his head. He 
tried to open the nearest door, but it was locked. 
Shouting at the top of his voice " Fire! Fire! " 
he succeeded in rousing several men, who came 
out in their pajamas, sleepily rubbing their eyes. 
The slumbers of youth are very heavy! 

The heat was already suffocating, and there was 
no time to be lost. One intelligent boy dashed 
down to notify Mr. Randall and to telephone to 
the local fire department. A few others seized 
the chemical extinguishers in the comers, but it 
was plain that the time for their effective use had 
passed. Meanwhile Oscar cried, " Come here, fel- 
lows! We'll have to break down this door. Let's 
get a sofa and knock it through! " 

Three or four of the lustier men, including Bull 
Taylor, hauled out a lounge from a neighboring 


room, and began the task of demolishing the 
locked door. Holding the solid piece of furniture 
up and running forward with all their force, they 
succeeded in driving it as a battering ram part 
way through the panel. One more smash and 
the door fell, but the flames licked out so vi- 
ciously that most of the crowd dispersed. Oscar, 
however, had provided himself with a bath towel 
soaked in water, and, as the door dropped, he 
crawled in on his hands and knees. For a second 
he felt overwhelmed by the smoke, but he held 
the towel tight over his face ard groped his way 
to the bedroom. There on the bed he saw very 
vaguely a motionless form. Throwing the figure, 
blankets and all, over his shoulder, he shot back 
as swiftly as he could, the long tongues of fire 
darting at him as he ran. When he reached the 
corridor, he slipped and fell, but strong arms 
dragged him away from the terrible heat. He 
could hear Bull Taylor say, " Good God, Oscar, 
we thought you had gone for good! Come along 
quick. Let*s get out of this! " 

Staggering and exhausted, Oscar let Bull take 
up his inert burden, and the two descended as 
fast as they could to the ground floor and out 
into the open air, where a throng of students was 

Staggering and exhausted, Oscar let Bull take up 



gathering. The biting wind revived Oscar at once, 
and he cried, " Some one get a doctor quick! This 
fellow's dying! " Bull and he laid the limp form 
on the snow and unwrapped the coverings. When 
the face was exposed, they saw that it was Carl 
Woodward, who had apparently been overcome 
by smoke while he was sleeping, and was thus un- 
able to escape. Familiar with the process of 
resuscitation, Oscar began working desperately at 
the youngster's arms, moving them up and down 
in approved Red Cross fashion. In a few minutes, 
however. Dr. Runner, one of the town physicians, 
arrived and administered additional first-aid treat- 
ment. Oscar had been sure that Carl was dead, 
but, under expert care, color returned little by 
little to his cheeks and he began to revive. 

"Here," said Dr. Runner to some of the by- 
standers, *' it's altogether too frosty for this lad 
here. Take him to somebody's house, — no, I'll 
move him to the Infirmary in my ear. Can't two 
of you huskies lend a hand? " 

The lad was lifted into Dr. Runner's automo- 
bile, and the physician drove off. Then Oscar, 
his tension a bit relaxed, had time to gaze about 
him at a dazzling scene. There had been nearly 
a foot of snow on the ground, and a light rain on 


the previous afternoon, turning into sleet and 
freezing quickly, had covered everything with an 
icy glare. The trees were masses of crystals, glit- 
tering in the lurid flare from the burning dormi- 
tory. The branches of shrubs and evergreens were 
bent over until they touched the snow, and the 
scintillating pendants clattered in the wind. Even 
in rubbers, it was not easy to stand upright, and 
the firemen, who had made an appearance with 
amazing speed, were having difficulties in manag- 
ing the hose. From the roof, flames were leaping 
out high into the air, illuminating the sky for 
rods around. Two jets of water, however, were 
being played on the conflagration, and firemen 
were struggling desperately to get it under con- 
trol. By this time most of the school had as- 
sembled, everybody shivering in the zero tem- 
perature. Soon Oscar saw the Head approaching. 

"Great Heavens, Harris!" he cried, as he 
looked him over. " Haven't you any shoes on? 
What are you wearing under that bath-robe? 
Anything? " 

Bewildered, Oscar looked down at his attire. 
He was in his bare feet, just as he had emerged 
from the bathroom. He felt underneath his robe. 
Sure enough, he was stark naked, without even 


pajamas to cover him! He had been so much 
excited by what he had undergone that he had 
never noticed his lack of clothing. 

Oscar attempted to stammer something, but the 
Head shouted to one of the instructors at his side. 
" Here, will you see that Harris gets down to the 
Infirmary? It looks to me as if he had been 
scorched around the face. Anyhow, he's numb 
with cold, and I want him put to bed immedi- 

In spite of some feeble protests, Oscar was 
shoved into a Ford sedan by Roscoe Dale, cov- 
ered with a blanket and fur coat, and rushed to 
the Infirmary, where the matron ordered him into 
a warm cot and gave him a steaming drink. Soon 
Dr. Runner entered and put some ointment over 
the blisters on his face, which were commencing 
to feel painful. 

"I hear that you're a hero, young man,'' he 
said, as he examined his wounds. " It was mighty 
plucky of you to go back and save that lad's life. 
He would certainly have burned to death if you 
hadn't pulled him out." 

Oscar was too much exhausted to say anything 
original in reply. Instead he made the customary 
story-book answer. "It wasn't anything, Doc. 


Anybody would have done it. But I'm glad that 
he will get well/' 

"Yes, he had a fairly close call, and two or 
three minutes more of that smoke might have 
finished him. But he has a good constitution, and 
he'll be around in a week, just as well as ever." 

When the physician and the nurse had left, 
Oscar still lay awake, tired though he was, look- 
ing out the window at the tongues of flame as 
they rose and fell. From his bed on the east side 
of the Infirmary he could watch the glare and 
could even hear the shouts of the firemen as they 
fought the blaze. Little by little, however, the 
redness died away, and Oscar, overcome with 
weariness, sank tranquilly to slumber. 

When he awoke, he saw a pretty nurse gazing 
at him. Where was he? Oh, yes, he remem- 
bered! He reached out his arms and felt of his 
face and neck, only to find that they were covered 
with bandages. He tried to raise himself up, but 
perceived that his back and legs were very sore. 

"You'd better take it easy,'' said the nurse, 
smilingly. "You're not as strong as you think 
you are. Wait until we've bathed and massaged 
you, and then you can try sitting up." 

" My, am I so badly off as that? " Oscar asked. 


" Oh, no, you're not really sick, — just a trifle 
weak from shock. You're not going to be with 
us long as a patient/' 

"All right, nurse. But tell me, how is Carl 
Woodward getting along? " 

" Is he the boy who was brought here just be- 
fore you last evening? " 

"Yes, that's the one." 

" Oh, he's fine. He didn't get burned any to 
speak of. He just swallowed a lot of smoke." 

"Oh, nurse," asked Oscar, raising himself up 
again, " am I so much injured that I'll have to 
stop running? " 

" Goodness, no," answered the young lady. 
" You have one or two painful burns on your face, 
but your eyes weren't touched and your legs and 
lungs are quite all right. You won't suffer any 
permanent damage, except possibly a scar or two 
on your cheeks." 

" Thank Heaven ! " said Oscar, whose one ap- 
prehension had been that he might have to aban- 
don his track work. " I don't worry about my 
face. I don't care about that at all, for any change 
will be an improvement. But I should be broken- 
hearted not to be able to run." 

Oscar was able to sit up a little later and de- 


molish a grape-fruit, two dishes of cereal, plenty 
of bacon and eggs, a plate of toast, and several 
cups of cocoa. The process of eating was not al- 
together pleasant, but he was the victim of a 
colossal hunger. Later, after Dr. Runner had 
examined his burns and replaced his bandages, 
Oscar walked to a chair near the window and 
gazed out at the blackened roof of the dormitory, 
where the fire had raged so devastatingly on the 
previous evening. The glamor of the scene had 
entirely gone. Evidently the firemen had suc- 
ceeded in checking the blaze before it reached the 
lower rooms, for the first floor seemed to be un- 
injured. All around the building, however, the 
snow was tramped down by hundreds of feet, and 
there were desolate-looking piles of furniture, pic- 
tures, and books scattered here and there, where 
they had been deposited the night before. Lit- 
tle was left of the top story except charred tim- 
bers, and it was clear to Oscar that he had lost all 
his belongings, — even his clothes. He had liter- 
ally nothing of his own to wear except one bath- 
robe. He had to smile as he thought that he had 
hardly a possession left in the world. Even his 
copy of Eric, or Little by Little, had vanished in 
the flames. He would have to start again. 


As the day went along, Oscar's ward became a 
kind of reception-room, and visitor after visitor 
arrived to call upon him. Steve Fisher, Joe Wat- 
son, Kid Wing, Bull Taylor, — all these friends 
came with wearing apparel to place at his dis- 
posal, until he had a miscellaneous collection of 
knickerbockers, shoes, shirts, neckties, and other 
haberdashery sufficient to stock a store. Shep and 
Larry Spear came in together to cheer him up and 
assure him that he would soon be on the cinder 
path again. Oscar, with great strips of gauze 
around his head, only his eyes and mouth visible, 
greeted them one after another. Just before noon 
the Head stepped in, very solicitous about his 
burns; but Dr. Runner, who happened to be there 
at the time, declared that they were only super- 

"How this fellow escaped without any more 
serious disability, I can't understand," said the 
physician, pointing to Oscar. " He was right in 
the midst of the flames, and yet he was merely 
scorched. It's lucky for him, of course, that he 
had those damp towels over his face. Otherwise 
he might have lost his eyesight." 

" The good die young," interposed Oscar whim- 
sically. " I'm too tough a nut to kill, Doc." 


" I'm glad you're still cheerful/' said the Head. 
" You'll need all your courage. I must tell you 
that everything in your room was burned up.'* 

" I supposed so," was Oscar's answer. " But 
I honestly don't care just so long a^ my running 
won't be interfered with. I can buy new clothes, 
but not new legs." 

" You'll be on the track in ten days," said Dr. 

" That's great, sir! " said Oscar gleefully. "And 
would you mind telling me where I can find a 
place to live for the rest of the year? " 

" That's going to be easy," answered the Head, 
who had already settled that matter. " Hal Man- 
ning says that he has plenty of space for you in 
his suite over in Phillips Hall, and you can go 
there if you like. Would that suit you? " 

" That will be bully, sir," commented Oscar, 
who was very fond of Hal. "Just so long as I 
have a cot and a few clothes I'll be all right." 

Before the day was over Hal Manning appeared 
himself to present the invitation, doing it in so 
gracious a manner that Oscar could not help ac- 
cepting the offer. Now that both boys were in 
" K. P. N.," the problem was simplified, and Oscar 
felt as if he had another friend besides Bull Tay- 


lor. Later on, Oscar found that similar arrange- 
ments had been made for the housing of all the 
homeless refugees who had resided in Wendell 
Hall, and, by a process of doubling up, they had 
all been distributed among the other dormitories. 

Oscar was much embarrassed to find himself a 
school hero. Bull Taylor, who had escaped un- 
injured, told the story of Oscar's deeds every- 
where, and the episode bade fair to go down in 
the annals with the tale of the Andover graduate 
who so gallantly sacrificed his life in an effort to 
save women and children at a fire in a New Haven 
moving-picture theatre. Boston newspapers sent 
reporters out to get the news and published a full 
account, including Oscar's picture in running- 
trunks and track-shirt. Mrs. Woodward, who 
came on from Kentucky to nurse her son, nearly 
overwhelmed him with gratitude. All sorts of 
delicacies were showered upon him, — ^avocado 
pears, California dates, enormous grape-fruit, and 
boxes of chocolates, — ^more than he could have 
eaten in a month. There were moments when 
Oscar felt as if he would like " to fade away unto 
the forest dim," where he could escape the atten- 
tion of the grateful mother. 

Oscar remained in the Infirmary until the term 


closed, making sure that his burns were properly 
healed and taking his final examinations there by 
a special dispensation. When school was over, he 
managed, in borrowed finery, to motor into Bos- 
ton with Hal Manning, where he accumulated an 
entire new stock of clothing. His purchases at 
one or two stores almost led the clerks to believe 
that he was going into business for himself. Suit- 
ably equipped with raiment, he spent a week at 
Hal Manning's home on Commonwealth Avenue, 
where he soon became a favorite with the family. 
He had one delightful evening when Hal's sister, 
Janet, now Mrs. Edward J. Hopkins, who lived in 
Dedham, came in and told Oscai' of her flirtation 
with Steve Fisher, when Steve was a " prep '^ at 
Andover. She described the affair with so much 
humor that the family were in shrieks of laughter; 
and Oscar treasured it in his mind to use in case 
Steve ever tried to ridicule him at the " K. P. N." 
house. He recognized the value of a weapon of 
retaliation when jokes were passing. 

It was hard for Oscar to leave the Manning 
home, with its warm hospitality and its attrac- 
tiveness, and Mrs. Manning, a motherly kind of 
woman who had taken a fancy to Oscar, kept urg- 
ing him to stay longer. But Oscar was eager to 


get out on the track once more and try his legs; 
furthermore he wanted to get settled in Hal's 
quarters in Phillips Hall so that all would be 
ready when the spring term opened. Early in 
April, then, Oscar returned to Andover Hill and 
established himself in Hal's room on the third 
floor. Anxious to contribute his share to the joint 
establishment, he depleted his bank account by 
purchasing some new furniture and a few choice 
engravings for the walls. But it was already so 
well supplied with the luxuries of school life that 
there was little which he could add without turn- 
ing it into a museum. 

On the afternoon of his return, — a windy, 
cloudy, unpleasant day, with mud everywhere un- 
der foot, — Oscar strolled across Main Street to 
look at his last term's home. There it stood, with 
charred timbers and rubbish all around, the work- 
men already starting to clear away the debris 
preparatory to rebuilding. As he was gazing sadly 
and reminiscently at the wreckage, recalling the 
comfort of his former quarters on the third story 
and lamenting his treasures which had been de- 
stroyed, Mr. Randall, who had seen him from his 
study window, came out to welcome him. 

" Hello," he said, in his slow voice. " I'm glad 


to see that you've fully recovered. You look just 
about as good as new. And I'm mighty sorry that 
you are going to leave Wendell Hall. We'll miss 

'^ Thank you, sir. I was just thinking as I was 
standing here how sad it makes me feel to move. 
I hope that your part of the dormitory was not 

" We had some water leak through the ceilings, 
but it wasn't anything serious. It looks now as 
if we could stay here while they do the necessary 
repairing up above." 

'' That's fine," said Oscar. '' You're better off 
than I am." 

'' I suppose," asked Mr. Randall, *' that no one 
is making any inquiries as to how the blaze 
started? " There was a twinkle in his eye as he 
propounded the query. 

" No, I imagine not," replied Oscar with equal 
seriousness. " But I guess Carl Woodward could 
tell a good deal about it. However, I'm not going 
to ask him." 

" His carelessness has cost the school a good 
deal of money and trouble," said Mr. Randall, 
with the air of one stating a fact, — not placing 
the blame. 


" When I saw him a week ago, he looked like a 
fellow who had learned a lesson," commented 

" Good! " was the instructor's answer. "And, 
by the way, Harris, I have never had a chance to 
tell you how much I admired your conduct " 

" I beg your pardon, sir," said Oscar precipi- 
tately, recognizing the preliminaries to another 
eulogy and unwilling to face it. " I had almost 
forgotten my engagement over in the office. 
Good-bye! " And he rushed off like a dog run- 
ning to escape a beating. 

Mr. Randall, when he was once more in the 
precincts of his library, turned to his wife, who 
was peacefully mending socks in front of the fire, 
and directed his comments to her. " There's a 
boy who has certainly made good here," he said. 
" We have plenty of disappointments in my pro- 
fession, and there are moments when I am sure 
that I personally am getting worse every year as 
a trainer of boys; but this Harris is one of our 
shining successes." 

Like all teachers, Mr. Randall was inclined to 
claim the credit when one of the boys in his dormi- 
tory did well, and to attribute all the failures to 
the "cussedness" of human nature. It is too 


bad, however, that he could not have heard Oscar 
reciting, as he walked back to his room, a stanza 
from a poem which he had just learned: 

* ' It matters not how strait the gate, 

How charged with punishment the scroll, 
I am the Master of my Fate ! 
I am the Captain of my Soul ! ' * 

He would have been sure, then, that Oscar, the 
one-time " freak," had graduated into manhood. 



When Oscar came back to Andover after his 
brief visit at the Manning house in Boston, he 
was much disconcerted to find mud and water 
everywhere on the campus. He recalled March 
and April on the Mediterranean as being delight- 
ful months, and he had rather expected the same 
conditions in New England. Instead he ran into 
a three-days' storm of wind and rain, during most 
of which he was glad enough to build up a fire in 
HaFs room and sit idly in front of it, making his 
plans for the spring. He did, however, wade 
through the shallow pools to the Case Memorial, 
where he resumed his running practice, finding, to 
his satisfaction, that his burns had not affected 
him in the slightest. Indeed, it is probable that 
the enforced rest was really helpful in keeping 
him in the best of condition. 

It happened that Steve Fisher, whose home was 
in Montana, was also marooned in Andover dur- 
ing the vacation, and the two young men became 

very well acquainted. Steve, although he was a 



member of " K. P. N." with Oscar, was the ac- 
knowledged leader of the school, and Oscar natu- 
rally felt a bit shy at first in talking to him. But 
he found Steve so completely free from conceit 
or condescension that it was easy to be at home 
with him. The two met at first in the Case Me- 
morial, where Steve was practising curves and 
drops every afternoon, — he was captain of the 
nine and its first-string pitcher; later Steve in- 
vited Oscar to his room, in Bartlet Hall, where 
they discussed affairs of the world, from prohibi- 
tion to evolution, settling each in the offhand 
manner so characteristic of the younger genera- 

A day or two before the vacation was over, the 
mud dried up, and it became feasible for Oscar 
to get outdoors on the regular cinder track. He 
now felt supremely happy, for it seemed as if new 
vigor had come to him with the return of warmth 
and sunshine. All the unmistakable signs of 
spring were at hand. Men with iron prongs on 
sticks were prowling stealthily about the campus 
picking up the scattered bits of paper and tin- 
foil and the countless lost shoe-buckles dropped 
during the winter from seven hundred pairs of 
" arctics " ; laborers were rolling the playing fields 


and removing the board walks; and here and there 
carpenters were making the necessary repairs and 
alterations on the buildings. The more enterpris- 
ing robins had already appeared, and the buds 
were showing on the maple branches. Best of 
all, there was a kind of freshness in the air, which 
made the blood in young men's veins flow like 
the fresh sap in the trees. Oscar could see why 
primitive peoples celebrate the Easter season as a 
resurrection, — the awakening of the world from 
an unprolific slumber. 

On the evening when the students returned for 
the spring term, the sun went down in gorgeous 
colors behind the distant hills, with promise of 
pleasant days to come. As the residents of Phil- 
lips Hall drove up one by one with their suit- 
cases, they greeted Oscar in friendly fashion, 
frankly glad to have him one of their number. 
Carl Woodward, who had once resented being 
chastised by Oscar, now was ready to become his 
grateful satellite, and shouted out a joyous, " Hi, 
Oscar ! " as he saw him on the terrace. Bull Tay- 
lor, who was doubling up with a friend in Bartlet 
Hall, was once more on hand, gleeful because he 
had received high-enough grades to win a full 
scholarship once more. Altogether it was an hi- 


larious reunion which the inmates of Phillips and 
Bartlet Halls had that evening, and Oscar had no 
regrets at being no longer in Wendell. As a mat- 
ter of fact he soon came to realize that it was 
beneficial for him to be thrown more with the 
older and stronger men in the senior class. He 
was greeted by them as an equal, and he saw that 
he could associate with them on even terms. For 
this he was devoutly thankful. 

It amazed him to see how busy most of these 
seniors really were. They rarely indulged in a 
rough-house in the dormitory; they were careful 
to keep their records free from " cuts " and " de- 
merits"; and they worked harder at their 
studies than the younger fellows who had been 
in Wendell Hall with Oscar. Furthermore, each 
man seemed to have some outside activity which 
occupied his spare hours, — some form of sport, de- 
bating, music, the school papers, or the Society 
of Inquiry, — and everybody assumed that every- 
body else had something important to do. It was 
an atmosphere in which everybody was stimu- 
lated to do his best. 

I may as well admit the truth at once, — ^al- 
though it may not please some of my older read- 
ers, — ^and state that Oscar's mind for the next few 


weeks was primarily on his running and the pos- 
sibilities of a victory in the coming track meet. 
This was his primary avocation, perhaps even for 
the moment his vocation. He maintained a sat- 
isfactory grade in his studies, it is true, and did 
not fail in his recitations; indeed " Charlie " Fos- 
ter complimented him more than once on the fa^ 
cility with which he turned Horace into English 
verse. But deep down in his heart Oscar was 
aiming at just one thing, — to win the mile run in 
the dual meet. His success in the " B. A. A" 
relay had given him the right to wear the cov- 
eted "A," but he was far from being content with 
that achievement. He wanted, perhaps, to prove 
to himself that he was an all-round man; he 
longed for the prestige which belongs to the victor 
in some athletic event; he desired to show that 
he was more than just a mere " plugger." But, 
whatever the motive, or motives, may have been, 
he gave himself body and soul to his work on 
the track. 

On every afternoon, then, Oscar appeared at 
two o'clock ready to follow Larry Spear's instruc- 
tions. Often he would spend half an hour prac- 
tising starts. Sometimes he would jog for a few 
minutes and go straight in for a rub-down. The 


coach would make him run an occasional 440 
yards or 880 yards at top speed, with the idea, he 
explained, of developing Oscar's endurance and 
swiftness. Only once every week did he cover the 
full course of a mile. Even then, Larry, although 
he had his watch out and was evidently taking 
the time, would not tell it to Oscar. This is a 
little meanness which many coaches have, — simi- 
lar in principle to the policy adopted by many 
physicians of refusing to tell a patient his tem- 
perature or his blood pressure. Oscar could guess 
that he was steadily improving, but he was un- 
able to find out from Larry's manner just what 
the latter really felt in his heart. 

Larry had to warn him repeatedly not to do 
too much. " You need to be careful, Harris," he 
said, "not to get over-trained. You will learn 
through sad experience some day that it's just as 
disastrous to be stale as it is to take too little 
exercise. There's a happy medium somewhere, 
and you've got to discover where it is. I'm glad 
that you're so much like a race-horse, but you 
must keep yourself under control. Otherwise all 
our labor will have been for nothing." 

Joe Watson, the hammer-thrower, was captain 
of the team, and occasionally used to watch Oscar 


as the latter's long legs went rhythmically around 
the track. Joe was not a communicative person. 
It was his custom to sit in silence while the more 
loquacious Ted Sherman and Hal Manning bab- 
bled about the universe. But one day, as Oscar 
and he sat in the sun resting for a moment, Joe 
turned and said, '* Oscar, can you remember back 
to the time when you entered Andover last Sep- 
tember? '' 

" Yes, of course I do. You mean the morning 
when I asked you the way to Wendell Hall? Say, 
IVe often thought how kind you were to me that 
day! I must have been as raw as a turnip. I'm 
not much to boast of now, but I must have looked 
to you then like the inmate of some institution 
for the feeble-minded." 

" You're right! I'm not going to deny it. The 
funny part is that Hal Manning and Ted Sher- 
man were ready to bet a lot of coin that you would 
not stay in school until Christmas. And look at 
you now! On the track team, with an 'A,' and 
in Hal Manning's crowd, — which is pretty near as 
good as my own! And actually rooming with 
Hal Manning himself! When you think of it, it's 
stranger than fiction." 

"Of course most of it is just luck. I know 


that/' replied Oscar. " But when I think back 
and recall what a donkey I was, I wonder how 
they ever allowed me to take up space in a dormi- 
tory. I suppose that some kindly god protects the 

" I guess so, or else I'd never be here, either," 
commented Joe. And he got up lazily to have 
another fling with the hammer before going in 
for the afternoon. 

The first track meet of the season was with the 
Harvard Freshmen, who came to Andover late in 
April, on a damp, cold day. Oscar, who had never 
taken part in a race on a cinder path, was natu- 
rally impatient to see what he could do. By this 
time it had been settled that he should concen- 
trate on the mile. Phil Allen could very well take 
care of the quarter, leaving Kid Wing and Oscar 
for the longer distance. The half was to be in the 
hands of Fritz Allis and Barney Wright, although 
Mr. Spear was well aware that, in the Exeter 
meet, he should have to use Phil Allen in both 
the quarter and the half. Being a highly intelli- 
gent coach, however, he was letting Phil run only 
the furlong distance for the present, hoping 
against hope that some good half-miler might by 
a miracle appear. 


In the Freshman meet, Oscar, standing with 
Kid Wing and the other veterans at the starting- 
line, made up his mind that he would show 
Larry what he could do. Getting off slightly 
ahead of the others, he resolved to set the pace 
for the full distance. He covered the first quarter 
at top speed, in not much above sixty seconds, and 
saw that he was well to the front. Pleased at his 
success, he maintained a stiff pace for the next 
two laps, the positions of the Harvard men re- 
maining much the same. As he started the last 
quarter, he felt rather tired, but resolved to hold 
his lead at all costs. Gritting his teeth, he kept 
on, but an infallible sixth sense told him that the 
others were creeping up on him. He dug in with 
all his strength, but his legs were like lead. As 
he struggled down the back stretch, one Harvard 
man came up to his side, and, in spite of all he 
could do, passed him, with a sprint which Oscar 
tried in vain to emulate. In the last one hundred 
yards Oscar simply " faded." He was completely 
" run out.'' When Kid Wing and a second Har- 
vard man passed him just before they reached the 
tape, he was too much exhausted to do anything 
more than stagger across and get his breath as 


soon as possible. He had come in fourth in a 
race which he had started out to win. 

That evening in a quiet half -hour in his room, 
Larry took Oscar aside for some sound advice. 
"See here, Harris," he began, "you ought to 
make a clever runner, for you have some intelli- 
gence besides a good pair of legs and sound lungs. 
But you are not using your brain at all. Now I 
let you start in that race without any instructions 
whatever simply because I wanted to see what 
you would do. You acted just like the typical 
greenhorn, — no strategy, no attempt to outguess 
the other man. You behaved as if you had no 
knowledge of your strength or of the distance 
which you were running. Naturally you just ran 
yourself out and beat yourself. It was a foolish 
plan to follow. You can defeat that Harvard 
man in nine races out of ten, but you can't give 
him all the face-cards and expect to win the game. 
That's impossible." 

" Won't you tell me what to do next time, Mr. 
Spear? I need all the help I can get." 

" Perhaps I will, if it seems necessary. What 
I'm trying to say now is that you ought to know 
yourself and your capabilities thoroughly. There 
are some men, of course, whom you can run right 


off their feet; but there are a few, like that Har- 
vard fellow to-day, who just love to be paced for 
three laps, and who can then come up fresh for 
a final sprint and carry off the gold medal." 

Oscar did more than listen carefully to Larry's 
injunctions; he went back to his room and 
thought the problem out. He saw at once that 
it would be impossible for him to size up an op- 
ponent merely by hastily looking him over. Often 
an unpromising physical specimen might be very 
dangerous on the track. If he could run against 
a man just once, Oscar felt that he could get some 
idea of what his psychology would be like. But 
the really vital thing for Oscar at that stage was 
to study himself, — to learn how to manage him- 
self in such a way as to bring out all his speed and 
endurance. He recognized that, in every impor- 
tant race, there are points at which a runner has 
to make a quick decision, — ^whether he shall pass 
a weaker rival or let him continue to set the pace, 
for instance, — ^but he was sure now that the fun- 
damental principle was to get acquainted with his 
own strength and weaknesses. 

In early May the track squad went to New 
Haven to compete against the Yale Freshmen, 
and Oscar had his first opportunity of inspecting 


that college, where he was already entered. Each 
team at Andover is allowed one trip away from 
the school during the season, always accompanied, 
of course, by a teacher. Oscar and his mates were 
royally entertained in New Haven, and he met 
what seemed to him to be hundreds of old An- 
dover men, each of whom seemed a cordial host. 
With the former '^ K. P. N." members, he was 
soon on intimate terms, and he could appreciate 
how important such a society affliation might be- 
come. What pleased him most, Ijowever, was the 
consciousness that he was treated, not as a 
" freak," but as an equal, a person who was en- 
tirely sane and normal. 

The mile run in an ordinary track meet is the 
third running event, coming after the 100-yard 
dash and the 120-yard high hurdles. It is sel- 
dom possible at that stage of the proceedings to 
predict how the scoring is likely to turn out, and 
the mile run to the uninformed spectator does 
not seem to be a decisive race. But the real track 
" fan " keeps what is called a " dope sheet," on 
which the probable results are recorded; and an 
upset in one event may, to those " on the inside," 
change the whole prospect for one side or the 
other. Oscar was well aware that, on the Andover 


" dope sheets," he was scheduled to come in third. 
He was not much complimented at this predic- 
tion, and wanted to falsify it if he could. 

Six of them lined up at the starting point, — 
Kid Wing, Oscar, and an untried youngster named 
George Westcott, for Andover, the Yale trio be- 
ing headed by '' Mac " Smith, an old Andoverian, 
about whom Larry had told him a great deal. 
When the pistol shot off, Oscar waited to fall in 
behind Smith, who, however, was in no hurry. 
They started at a fairly slow pace, much slower 
than that to which Oscar had been accustomed, 
but he had been warned of Smith's tricks and he 
resolved not to be outgeneralled. On the second 
lap. Kid Wing, usually considered to be a steady 
plodder, shot into the lead and quickened the 
pace, but even this did not disturb Smith. The 
third lap saw the order remaining the same; but, 
as the final quarter opened. Smith easily went by 
Kid Wing and Oscar followed. This time Oscar 
felt fresh and strong, ready for a fast sprint. 
Smith speeded up, but Oscar stuck at his heels. 
Around the last curve and down the home stretch 
they dashed, neck and neck, the others several 
yards in the rear. Just before they reached the 
tape, Smith put forth an unexpected ounce or 


two of " drive '' and shot ahead by inches. It 
was a glorious race, and the time, — four minutes, 
thirty-eight seconds, — was excellent for that point 
in the season. It was some consolation to Oscar 
that he had performed with intelligence. It was 
no disgrace whatever to be defeated by a better 
man, — and Smith was better than he. 

In the meet with the Dartmouth Freshmen, 
Oscar won his race with ease, in four minutes, 
forty seconds, but he was not pushed. This, his 
first real victory in any track competition, gave 
him the confidence of which he was so badly in 
need. By this time it had become evident that 
he was running better than Kid Wing and that 
the Andover hope of success in the mile would 
rest on him. Kid was a star in cross-country run- 
ning and was later to be an intercollegiate cham- 
pion in the two-mile race; but there is no two- 
mile event in interscholastic athletics, it being 
considered that it is too exhausting for growing 
boys. Kid accepted Oscar's progress in the most 
generous way, merely saying, " Well, you can beat 
me, all right. I admit it. What I'm going to try 
to do from this time on is to help you to get first 

The so-called Harvard Interscholastics, held in 


Cambridge, gave Oscar a chance to measure his 
ability against that of the best runners from other 
schools, especially Exeter's star, *' Red " O'Brien, 
who had an established reputation, with firsts to 
his credit in the two most recent Andover-Exeter 

" Oscar," said Larry, as the boy was undressing 
for his race, "you must watch this O'Brien. 
Study his stride and the system that he follows. 
He's the man you've got to beat next Saturday. 
I don't care so much what you do this afternoon, 
but it's your job to learn all about him so that 
you can win from him at Andover." 

Oscar found the famous O'Brien to be a rather 
short but very stocky lad, with muscular calves 
and a vast expanse of chest. His stride was rather 
shorter than Oscar's, but he looked as if he could 
keep going until Doomsday. His favorite pro- 
cedure in the past had been to kill off his op- 
ponents one by one by setting a terrific pace at 
the start, confident that there would be no one 
among them who would be his equal. This 
method he tried again at Harvard, but Oscar 
stayed close to him for the first half-mile. 
O'Brien was manifestly taken aback at seeing this 
new Andover athlete, — of whom he had heard 


nothing since the relay race during the winter, — 
right behind him. He slowed down perceptibly 
for the third quarter, hoping that Oscar could be 
lured into trying a sprint; but the latter had 
learned too much to attempt that. Finally, two 
hundred yards from the finish, O'Brien leaped 
forward into the sprint for which he was so well 
known. At the same time, but just a trifle too 
slowly, Oscar started. Down the stretch they 
swept, Oscar holding his own with the Exeter 
man but unable to gain an inch; and so they 
crossed the finish line, O'Brien the winner by two 
feet. As Oscar regained his breath, he saw his 
rival at his side reaching out his hands. '' That's 
a bully race you ran, Harris. You gave me the 
surprise of my life. I hope that we'll have just 
as good a one next week." 

" Thanks, O'Brien. You certainly can run," 
said Oscar, still a little winded. " I don't see now 
how I stuck to you so long." 

" I know," answered O'Brien, " and I'm just a 
little afraid of what you may do." 

And so, in a spirit of strong but friendly rivalry, 
the representatives of the two great schools pre- 
pared for the final contest, neither quite sure that 
he could defeat the other, but each hopeful. 


During the week preceding the big meet Oscar 
felt as if he were dwelling in a rarefied atmosphere. 
At the chapel service every morning the students 
cheered and applauded each track man as he en- 
tered, imtil the building fairly quivered with the 
timiult. Pedants may denounce competition in 
athletics as placing the emphasis on the wrong 
things, but all men who are young in body or 
spirit are bound to admire physical prowess. To 
Oscar there was something in the approbation of 
his fellows that was very sweet, and their ap- 
proval gave him the confidence which he needed. 
Even the tiniest " prep " had his carefully pre- 
pared " dope sheet," on which the events were 
tabulated, with an assignment of points to each 
school on the basis of past performance. During 
the Sunday sermon Oscar was amused to find one 
neighbor, Tom Hayden, working out a prediction 
in the back of his hymn book, and another mak- 
ing a drawing of Joe Watson hurling the hammer 
an unprecedented distance. No one who has 
never been near a great American school before 
an important contest can realize how intense the 
feeling is and how anxiously the undergraduates 
await the outcome. 

On Thursday afternoon the school in a body 


marched to Brothers' Field, carrying blue mega- 
phones ornamented with white ''A's/' and cheered 
the track squad. On Friday evening the custom- 
ary mass meeting was held in the Gymnasium, 
— Bi noisy gathering, at which school spirit ran 
high and the smaller boys bellowed themselves 
hoarse. Fletcher, '08, the author of those stir- 
ring songs, " Fighting for Old P. A.! " and "An- 
dover Royal Blue! '' came out from Boston just 
to play them on the piano and lead the crowd in 
the singing. " Charlie " Foster, Shep, Larry 
Spear, and the Head all made brief speeches, tell- 
ing a funny story or two and urging everybody to 
cheer the team on to victory. At intervals there 
would be a staccato chant, "We want Georgy! 
We want Georgy! " as the mob demanded some 
old favorite; and the popular teacher, escorted 
by two sturdy cheer-leaders, would march to the 
platform between walls of yelling undergraduates. 
The scene was so picturesque that alumni often 
came from a distance just to get once more in 
touch with the school which they had known, and 
renew the joyful feeling of other days. 

At the football mass-meeting in the fall Oscar 
had been very little stirred, but had shouted in a 
routine and phlegmatic way, his only desire being 


to avoid criticism. Now he sat quietly in the gal- 
lery and listened while the boys gave cheer after 
cheer, one of them ending with his own name, 
" Harris! Harris! Harris! " Then, at the order 
of Coach Shepley, he walked slowly to his room, 
read a humorous novel by P. G. Wodehouse, and 
went to bed. Of course he tried to sleep, but it 
was difficult. He counted sheep jumping over a 
fence; he played an imaginary golf course, hol- 
ing out impossible shots for "birdies" and 
" eagles " ; he recited Alfred Noyes's poem, The 
Barrel Organ, which he had learned some weeks 
before when that poet visited Andover; and then, 
just as he was about to despair, came oblivion. 

When he awoke at seven o'clock, he could see 
the sunlight gleaming on the dew-covered grass 
and was glad to know that the track would be dry. 
Of course he was excited. It would be ridiculous 
to deny it. But, in spite of his rapid heart action, 
he tried by an effort of the will to conserve energy 
and keep himself under control. At breakfast and 
chapel dozens of friends wished him success until 
he was weary of mumbling the conventional 
" Thanks! " He sat through his two classes in a 
state of anesthesia, his instructors being kind 
enough not to call on him, — even teachers have 


a human side. All that Oscar could think of while 
Mr. Loring was reciting: 

''The Sun's rim dips; the stars rush out: 
At one stride comes the dark, ' ' 

was about the kind of a stride that Red O'Brien 
would take that afternoon as he dashed away 
from the starting-line. " It'll be more than one 
stride," thought Oscar whimsically to himself; 
but just then the bell rang for the close of the 
hour, and he was free. He had a light lunch at 
eleven-thirty, after which he lay down in his room 
for an hour. At last, at one-thirty, he was al- 
lowed to go to the Gymnasium and don his run- 
ning clothes. Once in these, with a light sweater 
over his chest, he felt calmer in his mind. The 
moment of supreme trial was at hand. 

Stretched out on the grass in the hot glow of 
the sun, Oscar idly watched the spectators taking 
their places in the stands, — pretty girls with col- 
ored gowns, middle-aged graduates in linen knick- 
erbockers and gay golf stockings, and then the 
Exeter student body marching in column of fours 
and reciting the monotonous " E-X-E-T-E-R " in 
slow unison, giving each separate letter full stress. 
The Andover undergraduates followed through 


another gateway, headed by a military band and 
a spreading blue banner carried by stalwart arms. 
When these two groups were seated, the benches 
looked like one conglomerate mass of red and blue 
and yellow and white, as if the elements of the 
spectrum had been scattered there by some care- 
less god. Oscar saw the cheer-leaders hold a con- 
sultation and then begin their strange dance in 
front of the bleachers, like priests of some Poly- 
nesian religion carrying on their barbaric rites, 
their arms waving simultaneously in the air. 
Then came the crash and echo of the cheers. The 
home school gave a " long Andover " for its op- 
ponents, and Exeter returned the compliment. 
This interchange of amenities was followed by a 
medley of cheers, in which a variety of person- 
ages were honored, — the coaches, the captains, and 
the athletes, — until there was a lull, explicable by 
the fact that the hundred-yard dash was about 
to start. 

As Oscar listened to the organized cheering from 
the stands, he went over the situation in his mind, 
as he had discussed it with Shep on the previous 
afternoon. Those most fully informed admitted 
that the meet was bound to be very close and 
that a second or third place won unexpectedly by 


either school might decide the result. For the 
moment we are interested primarily in the mile 
run. Two of Exeter's entries, Red O'Brien and 
Fred Jones, were conceded to be superior to any 
Andover runner except Oscar. Kid Wing was not 
at his best in the mile, and, although he was plan- 
ning to run, it was not anticipated that he would 
win a point. George Westcott had no function 
except to swell the number of entries and to ac- 
quire experience for another season, Oscar was 
Andover's only hope, — and the newspapers on 
the evening before had been unanimous in their 
conclusion that the odds were in favor of Red 
O'Brien, the veteran of many contests. 

Points in the Andover-Exeter meet are awarded 
five to first place, three to second, and one to third. 
If Oscar could take first place, it would be a nota- 
ble triumph for his school, even though Exeter 
did secure the other four points. On the other 
hand, if Oscar ^were driven back to second or third 
and scored only a meagre one or three points, the 
New Hampshire " rooters " would feel that they 
had gained a decisive advantage. Conscious of 
these possibilities, Oscar knew that the crowd 
would have their eyes on him from the start. It 
might be that he could win or lose the meet. 


In the hundred-yard dash Exeter had taken 
the two first places, and the figures chalked up on 
the score board were 8-1. In the high hurdles, 
however, Len Whitney, Andover's star, justified 
expectations by coming in far ahead of any com- 
petitor. Presently Oscar heard the call for the 
mile, and stood up, rubbing his legs to limber up 
the muscles. As he reached the starting point, he 
met Red O'Brien, who shook hands with him 

*' Well, Harris, this ought to be a good race for 
us. We'll have a real fight to-day. This is my 
last for Exeter, you know.'' 

" Same for me here at Andover," replied Oscar. 
" I graduate this June, too. I sure am going to 
work hard to beat you, O'Brien." 

"Go to it! " was O'Brien's comment. From 
that moment the contest was on. 

The six men lined up across the track and dug 
little holes in the cinders for their toes. O'Brien 
drew the pole position, and the hordes from Ex- 
eter shouted wildly at this supposed advantage. 
Oscar took the next place, and the others alter- 
nated along the line. There was a moment's 
pause while the starter delivered his instructions, 
warning them not to crowd on the first turn and 


not to cut in towards the pole without being a 
full stride ahead. Then there was quiet! " Get 
ready! Get on your marks! Get set! Bang!" 

They were off, with an Exeter man, Fred Jones, 
in the lead, followed by Red O'Brien and Oscar, 
the other three trailing. Jones had been coached 
to set a brisk pace for the first quarter, but Oscar 
did not object so long as Red O'Brien was going 
at the same gait. They were maintaining the 
same relative positions as they swept by the 
stands once more; and Larry Spear noted, with a 
glance at his watch, that they had covered the 
first quarter in sixty-five seconds, — fast time for 
schoolboy running. 

As the second lap began, Jones slowed down 
and Red shot past him, followed, of course, by 
Oscar. It was quite obvious that Jones had done 
his part and would content himself by making 
sure of third. At the end of the lap, O'Brien and 
Oscar were still going strong, but the others were 
slowly dropping behind, poor Kid Wing, who was 
out of condition, falling to the rear. The third 
quarter was noticeably slower, both Oscar and 
Red husbanding their strength for the finish. As 
they came by the stands once more, the pistol 
rang out indicating that there was but one more 


lap, and the Andover "rooters" yelled franti- 
cally, " Go it, Harris! " " Beat that red-head! " 
and " You're the baby, Oscar ! " 

It would not be exact to say that Oscar was 
fresh at this point. His breath was coming hard 
and he was tired, but he knew his capabilities 
and felt good for the final struggle. He had a 
feeling, moreover, that O'Brien, in taking the pace 
for two laps, had worn himself out just a little. 
Down the back stretch, therefore, he began his 
sprint, rather earlier than O'Brien had antici- 
pated. With a bound Oscar was by Red's side, 
and they went along neck and neck in a mag- 
nificent contest for supremacy. As they reached 
the curve, it was difficult for the spectators to see 
who was leading; but those at the western end 
of the bleachers could note that, as they came into 
the last straightaway, Oscar was ahead by inches. 
Down they came, each man with muscles tense, 
teeth clenched, fists tight, swinging his arms to 
secure more power for his leg drive, — each with 
desperation on his face, giving every last ounce 
of strength. 

For a second it seemed as if O'Brien were 
drawing up, but Oscar, with a superb last effort, 
drove his weary body forward by sheer force of 


will and broke the tape a foot in front of his gal- 
lant Exeter rival! 

The mass of humanity on the Andover benches 
rose as a single unit, waving arms, yelling rau- 
cously, and hurling hats into the air. The band, 
inspired by the occasion, burst automatically into 
"Old P. A." Oscar himself was supported by 
strong arms, from which he had to fight to free 
himself. He felt as if a million people were slap- 
ping him on the back and crying " Bully for you, 
Oscar! " In a few seconds, however, he regained 
his breath and straightened up just in time to re- 
ceive the congratulations of his late foe, Red 

" You fairly ran me off my feet, Harris," said 
the chivalrous Exeter veteran, between gasps. 
" But it was a good race. I wonder what the time 
was? " 

They listened as the announcer bellowed 
through his gigantic megaphone: " Results of the 
one mile run. Won by Number 36, Harris, of 
Andover; second, Number 77, O'Brien, of Exeter; 
third, Number 21, Jones, of Exeter. Time, four 
minutes, thirty-five and two-fifths seconds." It 
was the fastest time Oscar had ever made offi- 
cially, and it was within two seconds of the dual 


meet record, set thirty years before by an An- 
dover athlete, William T. Laing. 

Oscar was glad enough to jog off to the Gym- 
nasium without waiting for the remaining events. 
From time to time, however, some one brought 
him news of what was going on: how Len Whitney 
broke the world's interscholastic record in the low 
hurdles, how Exeter's captain, " Si " Beeson, took 
first in the high jump, and how Phil Allen justi- 
fied the hopes of his admirers by winning the 
quarter- mile. The meet, as he could readily see 
in checking up the points, was very close. And 
then, as he was putting on his street clothes after 
a rubdown and a plunge in the pool, he heard a 
confusion of voices, and learned that " Spider " 
Drummond, a rank outsider, had, in a last tre- 
mendous effort, excelled all his previous perform- 
ances in the shot-put by three feet, thus taking 
second place in that event and winning the meet 
for Andover. 

It was impossible for Oscar to escape from the 
intrusion of admiring but inconsiderate friends, 
and for a few moments he could not get into the 
open air. Before long, however, Larry Spear came 
along and led him out of the crowd. " Let's get 
away from this," he said. " I know exactly how 


you feel, Oscar, because IVe been there myself 
so many times. You want to be by yourself, 
don't you? " 

"I like to have you around, Larry," replied 
Oscar, who was by this time on intimate terms 
with the coach. " But I certainly do hate to have 
a hundred men whom I hardly know praising me 
just because I happen to be a good athlete. Most 
of them wouldn't have spoken to me six months 

"That's life, Oscar. You'll learn that lesson 
quickly. But what I want to say now is that you 
ran a bully race. I never saw a better one. You 
used your head like an old-timer. Great work for 
a man so new to it I " 

" Much obliged for those kind words," answered 
Oscar, visibly pleased. " I'm glad I won. I cer- 
tainly worked hard enough. You'll bear witness 
to that." 

" There isn't a man on that team who deserves 
a victory more than you do," went on Larry. 
" Some day, if you keep on, you'll be running in 
the Olympics." 

"Wouldn't that astonish my mother! She 
used to be alarmed if I took a walk more than a 
mile long. But just now I feel as if I never 


wanted to put on running-shoes again. I sup- 
pose I'll get over that attitude? " 

" Oh, yes, it'll be different to-morrow morning, 
just as soon as you have a respite from the ex- 
citement. And next spring you'll be all on edge 
to feel the cinders under your feet once more." 

As Larry and Oscar emerged from the Gymnar 
slum by a side door, they could hear the bells in 
the Memorial Tower ringing out their joyful 
peals, and the people were strolling away from 
the playing fields, some in exultation, others in 
despondency, depending on the school with which 
they were affiliated. Oscar slipped back of the 
Dining Hall by a circuitous route to Phillips Hall, 
where he stole up to his room without attracting 
attention. Here he sat down at his window for a 
rest, having been careful to lock the door against 
intruders. He took out the little box containing 
the gold medal which he had won and which had 
been placed in his hand as he ran by one of the 
judges. As he read its wording and studied the 
design on the face, he could not help wondering, — 
for he was instinctively a philosopher, — whether 
the reward was worth the hours and hours of hard 
labor which he had undergone to gain it. Like 
many a man who achieves his goal, he questioned 


the importance of what he had accomplished. 
And then he felt of his leg muscles, as firm and 
hard as iron; he took a deep breath and rejoiced 
at the gain in health which he had made since he 
entered Andover eight months before; and he 
thought, in addition, of how much he had devel- 
oped in the ability to measure his powers against 
those of his comrades. " Yes," he said to him- 
self, as he looked again at the shining medal. " It 
may not be very valuable in itself, but it was 
worth all the trouble. It stands for my first real 
success! " 

At the football victory celebration in the fall, 
Oscar had been just a commonplace "prep," 
grateful for the privilege of helping to pull the 
barge and of having his famous blue silk pajamas 
torn into shreds in front of the bonfire. Now he 
was, by a miraculous transformation, a school 
hero, whose car lesser men would draw. As he 
climbed into the ancient vehicle in front of the 
Gymnasium and rode off with Joe Watson and 
the other members of the team, he could not help 
smiling to think that he and the great Joe were 
jouncing along side by side on what, for a throne 
of glory, was undoubtedly a very hard and bumpy 
seat. His grin grew broader as he caught occa- 


sional glimpses of Steve Fisher and Hal Manning 
leading cheers in his honor. With the indefati- 
gable band in front, followed by the barge, — 
drawn by " preps " like Oscar, — ^and the students, 
the procession marched off down Main Street, 
looking like a chapter of some secret society, — 
for the boys were all clothed in night apparel and 
each one was waving a kerosene torch. A long 
line of automobiles was held back by the police 
as the parade got under way. Down the broad 
paved highway it went, the students prancing up 
and down in a zigzag movement from side to side. 
Turning into School Street, the leaders halted at 
Abbot Academy to give cheers for the young 
ladies of that institution, — the " Fem Sem,'' as it 
has been called for nearly a century. Then cross- 
ing over and taking a route up Bartlet Street, they 
stopped at the house of the Head, where that 
gentleman appeared in response to the cries of 
the boys. Standing on his piazza and looking 
out over the sea of waving lights, he spoke some- 
what as follows: 

" Fellows, there's one thing about this meet of 
which we should all be proud. Some of our old- 
time athletes, like Phil Allen and Joe Watson, did 
brilliantly; but the really marvellous factor is the 


achievement of such inexperienced performers as 
Harris and Drimimond, who are new men in this 
kind of sport. I happen to know that neither one 
of them had ever been in a track suit before this 
year; yet they displayed the coohiess and the re- 
sourcefuhiess of veterans. So long as we can 
have spirit like that in Andover, we shall not be 
ashamed of any comparison with the 'good old 
days.' '' 

After visits to the houses of two faculty mem- 
bers, who told old stories and were warmly 
greeted, the procession arrived at the old campus, 
where an enormous pile of miscellaneous com- 
bustibles had been assembled. Here the crowd 
gathered around the barge and called upon each 
member of the team. Oscar, sitting nervously 
through remarks by the two coaches and the cap- 
tain, finally heard the cry, "We want Harris! 
We want Harris ! " and was raised up by his com- 
panions to the cross-bench. There he faced the 
turbulent mob, a little flustered but undeniably 
more fluent than those who had preceded him. 
This is what he said : 

"Fellows, the only other time I ever made a 
speech like this was last September, when I was 
being hazed as a ' prep,' and, every time I opened 


my mouth, some one pasted me in the rear with a 
barrel-stave. I'm glad that that won't happen 
again to-night, because this is the first and only 
time that I can appear on an occasion of this sort. 
I just want to say that there's nobody on the squad 
happier than I am. When I came here, I was a 
poor feeble thing, with hardly enough sense to 
come in out of the rain. I am probably not much 
more sensible now, but I am a trifle stronger, — 
thanks to * Doc ' Rogers, Shep, and Larry Spear. 
All I want to say is that this school is the greatest 
place on earth, and that I'm proud to be con- 
nected with it." 

One by one the remaining members of the 
team made their brief remarks, — some of them 
very brief, like Spider Drummond's, " Gee, fel- 
lows, I sure am a happy butterfly to-night." The 
flames, which had leaped high only fifteen min- 
utes before, were now sinking, and the boisterous- 
ness of the participants was less noticeable. Here 
and there a tired " prep " was slipping off to his 
room, glad to hunt his bed after an exciting day. 
A few dauntless spirits gave a last long cheer for 
"Team," and the athletes got down from their 
perches, glad to stretch their legs again. Oscar 
went with Hal Manning, who was near at hand, 


across Main Street and up the gravel path to- 
wards the Main Building. A full moon was ris- 
ing over the tower above the portico, and there 
were lights everywhere around the great quad- 
rangle. Before they entered Phillips Hall, Oscar 
turned for one more look at the spectacle. " Say, 
Hal, it's good to be alive on a night like this! " 
he said. He was beginning to realize what life 
has to offer to those who have something to give 
in return. 



On the Sunday morning after the Exeter meet 
it seemed to Oscar as if he wanted to slumber for 
weeks and weeks. He had been going through a 
prolonged period of nervous strain, and the reac- 
tion had arrived. Although he awoke at nine 
o'clock, he was disinclined to get up; so he lay- 
there in bed in a state of reverie until Hal Man- 
ning, carrying a bundle of Boston newspapers 
under his arm, rushed in noisily and pulled him 
out on to the floor. There was a vigorous wres- 
tling match for a minute or two, and then Oscar, 
very much awake, sat down to look at the sporting 
pages. There were the headlines: HARRIS 
CLOSE MEET. Two of the papers had photo- 
graphs of the finish of the mile, showing Oscar 

with a face which he could not recognize as his 



own, so contorted and vicious were the features; 
and one actually had a full-length picture of him 
in track costume, with the legend underneath, 
It was with unaffected delight that he read the 
detailed accounts of the event, with the tributes 
to his " fighting spirit," his " grim determination," 
and his " unexpected display of strength." After 
two or three of these eulogies, Oscar got up and 
walked around to make sure that he was not liv- 
ing in a dream. Only a few months before he had 
been the butt of the school; now he was one of the 
best-known Andoverians. It was a case of what 
his Latin teacher would have called the mobile 
vulgus, the fickle populace. And yet Oscar knew 
that the real transformation had been, not in the 
crowd, but in himself. 

In the evening Oscar had been invited to Pro- 
fessor Foster's for Sunday-night supper, — a treat 
to which he always looked forward with keen an- 
ticipation, for the Fosters, as we have said, were 
famous for their hospitality. He walked out after 
vespers with Steve Fisher, Joe Watson, and Hal 
Manning; and they found there Mr. and Mrs. 
Loring, together with two well-known alumni of 
twenty-five years back, whom Professor Foster 


addressed as Tom Gordon and Al Mason. There 
was, of course, a good deal of talk about the meet, 
during which Oscar and Joe sat very much 
abashed, overwhelmed by the praise bestowed 
upon them; but, after a delightful dinner, the men 
gathered in the library and the conversation 
turned to bygone days. The teachers and the old 
graduates vied with one another in telling stories 
about things as they used to be. 

Over the cigars and the coffee some one brought 
up the subject of practical jokes, particularly as 
played by one member of the faculty upon his 
colleagues. Professor Foster related several an- 
ecdotes about Mr. Lapham, — familiarly known as 
" Jimmy," — the Instructor in Chemistry, now se- 
dately middle-aged, but twenty-five years before 
an incorrigible jester. It was he who, when the 
editors of the school year-book asked for an ac- 
count of his previous history, wrote a biography 
describing his early marriage and subsequent be- 
reavement in such a moving style that the ladies 
of the community were ready to weep with the 
desolated widower; and not until several years 
later was the fact brought out that he was still a 
bachelor and that all the tears had been shed 
without any real cause. It was he who on one 


Christmas Day sent his most intimate friend and 
colleague, ^'Andy '' Goodwin, a canary in a cage, 
and received in reply the telegram, " It's a bird! " 
Andy, in retaliation, borrowed a little negro 
pickaninny from the family of one of the chamber- 
maids at the Inn and put it in Jimmy's bed one 
afternoon, just before the latter came back from 
his class, with the inscription on a card, '* I win, 
Jimmy. Mine's a blackbird ! '' 

It was Jimmy who was the hero of an exploit 
which was long talked about on Andover Hill. 
Mrs. Anderson, the wife of one of the older teach- 
ers, was called upon to prepare a paper for the 
local Missionary Society on " The Religions of 
China." Knowing nothing whatever about this 
perplexing subject, she appealed to Mr. Lapham, 
— and not in vain. After three or four days, 
Jimmy appeared at the Anderson home and pre- 
sented to the lady of the household a typewritten 
manuscript, which, he said, she was at liberty to 
use if she wished to do so. Accordingly, at the 
meeting, Mrs. Anderson read the essay, which 
began as follows: 

" Chinese religions are of three kinds, each dif- 
fering in a marked degree from the others, — the 
inductive, the deductive, and the conductive." 


In spite of this astounding sentence and of the 
fact that Jimmy had created a complete hierarchy 
of hitherto unknown gods and goddesses, many 
of them anagrams on the names of his friends, the 
article was taken seriously by the Missionary So- 
ciety, discussed at some length, and given the 
approbation of the members. 

Occasionally Jimmy and Andy, tired of playing 
jokes on each other, would combine, with disas- 
trous results to the victim against whom they di- 
rected their schemes. In the old days before the 
installing of a steam-heating plant, each room was 
warmed by a stove of the air-tight variety, stand- 
ing at least three feet high. Once another bache- 
lor teacher, Mr. Barrett, went to a house in town 
to make a call. In his absence, his two associates 
took down his stove, brought in a little new one 
of the toy variety, and left the room otherwise as 
it was. When Barrett returned, he could hardly 
believe his eyes. His own familiar stove had been 
replaced by a piece of heating apparatus abso- 
lutely different, — and all in an hour's time. 

Oscar, who had never thought of his teachers as 
human beings, sat enthralled by these tales of the 
frailties and follies of these great men. He was 
sure that his respect for them would be increased. 


now that he knew that they were not above the 
ordinary emotions of mankind. 

"It's queer, isn't it," said Al Mason, "that 
joking of that sort has practically died out? " 

" But it hasn't gone altogether, sir," put in 
Steve Fisher, who had been listening attentively. 
" It still goes on here. Haven't you heard of the 
fun that Shep, Larry Spear, and Roscoe Dale have 
together? " 

" No, go ahead with the story," said Professor 
Foster. And so Steve spun his yarn. It seems 
that Roscoe Dale, one of the popular unmarried 
instructors, had a Ford runabout, which he parked 
behind his dormitory. Shep and Larry used occa- 
sionally to remove the seat and hide it, or take off 
a rear wheel, or unscrew the spark-plugs, and Ros- 
coe had his own means of getting even. One 
evening, however, when Shep and Larry were in 
Roscoe's room, looking out at the lonely Ford, 
Shep said to Larry, "You go out and jack up 
Dale's car, and I'll keep him here talking with 
him. Take off the two front wheels and let the 
old boat down to the ground. He'll certainly be 
surprised." Larry accordingly went out and pro- 
ceeded to begin his task of dismantling the ma- 
chine. While he was in the very midst of the 


operation, however, Shep decided that it would be 
amusing to turn traitor. Accordingly he drew 
Dale to the window and pointed out to him the 
obscure figure who was evidently at some nefari- 
ous business. " I'll bet that that's the fellow who 
is always monkeying with your car," he said to 
Roscoe; and the latter was out the door and on 
the run for his machine within two seconds. As 
he drew nearer, he could see some one working at 
the front wheel, and, thinking it to be a student, 
he shouted, " Get out of there! " This gave 
Larry time enough to straighten up and see Ros- 
coe approaching. He turned and fled at top 
speed, with Roscoe after him, yelling to him to 
stop. Then was presented the interesting spec- 
tacle of Roscoe pursuing in the gathering darkness 
a former Olympic champion in the distance runs. 
It was especially humorous to Shep, who, as the 
wicked author of this plan, was watching the sight 
from the window, tears of laughter rolling down 
his cheeks. The end was not yet, however, for 
just as Larry reached the road near the Infirmary, 
he slipped in the mud and fell; and in a few sec- 
onds Roscoe, bursting with rage, was upon him, 
clutching him by the throat. As Larry turned 
over, Roscoe saw his face, and comprehension 


came to him. " You son of a gun! " said Roscoe, 
as he let Larry up. " So that was you all the 
time! " 

" How did you find me out? '* asked Larry, try- 
ing to brush off his muddy trousers. 

" Shep showed you to me," replied Roscoe. 

And then an expression of understanding came 
over Larry's face. He had been betrayed by his 
supposed ally. Within the next few days Larry 
formed with Roscoe an alliance against Shep 
which resulted, — but that, said Steve, in the 
words of Kipling, is another story! 

" Speaking of good jokes," said Tom Gordon, 
" I remember perfectly the time when a fellow 
named ' Ozzy ' Webster went to sleep in class. It 
was in Andy Goodwin's History recitation, and, 
towards the end of the hour on a day when the 
room was rather warm, Ozzy fell into a peaceful 
slumber on the back seat. Andy noticed what 
had happened and motioned to the fellows to go 
out as quietly as possible. Meanwhile he went 
to the door and asked the newcomers in the next 
division to enter on tiptoe. Everything was ab- 
solutely silent, and the plan worked like a charm. 
The men in the following class all got seated, and 
then Andy went ahead with the recitation as if 


nothing had occurred. Pretty soon Ozzy woke up 
with a start and looked around him. He was ex- 
actly like Rip Van Winkle, coming to life in a new 
and strange country. Dazed and perplexed, he 
straightened up, and then the fellows, who had 
been waiting expectantly, gave him a loud laugh. 
He took one more glance and then fled. You may 
be sure that he never heard the last of it." 

" I suppose that you don't have * goat ' in- 
structors any longer, do you? " inquired Al Mason, 
turning to the undergraduates, who were listening 
with both ears open. 

" Yes, we've had one or two," answered Steve, 
who had been in Andover three years. " I re- 
member when I was a ' prep ' that one of the 
boys threw a lot of papers and shavings into a 
desk in Pearson Hall and then tossed a match 
into them. Smoke began to come out the ink- 
well hole, and the teacher, who was just a young 
fellow a year out of college, hadn't any idea what 
to do. Of course the men made a terrible noise 
and pretended that they were frightened, and two 
or three gave good imitations of fainting, — they 
had a real scare the next day when the Head gave 
them a lecture ! " 

" Don't you remember ' Doggy ' Morris? " 


added Hal Manning. " He used to have a section 
in Mechanical Drawing, and Ted Sherman used 
to nail his instruments to the table so that, when 
he tried to pick one of them up, it stuck fast. It 
occupied him ten minutes every morning to get 
his tools loose, and yet he actually never com- 
plained one word about it. Afraid to protest, I 
suppose! " 

''It sounds to me as if discipline must be better 
than it was in my day," commented Al Mason. 
" There's nothing very serious about what you 
have told, and a teacher who can't keep order bet- 
ter than that deserves to be made a butt. In the 
period when Tom Gordon and I were here, there 
was always some inexperienced cub who had no 
idea how to handle his classes. I can recall 
clearly the time when the Head, — who was just a 
young fellow himself then, — had to come into an 
English classroom because the noise there was 
shaking the building." 

" The fellows nowadays are mighty well be- 
haved," said Professor Foster. *' There's almost 
never any trouble with the seniors. They have 
passed the silly stage, and unless a teacher is 
wholly incompetent, they sit quiet, even when 
they are bored. Do you know, Tom, I really be- 


lieve that things have improved since you were 

" I hate to admit it," answered Tom, " but I 
think that it's so. IVe been doing a little sleuth 
work since I arrived yesterday, and I'm convinced 
that these boys here now are a finer type than the 
crowd I knew in my day. With these young 
chaps here with us, I'm a little restricted, for I 
don't want my past exposed to their ridicule. 
But Fisher and the others won't mind being told 
the truth. Will you, boys? " 

" We're so accustomed to being told that we're 
corrupt and degenerate and immoral that it's a 
pleasure to have any older man say that he has 
confidence in us," said Steve, who naturally took 
the position of spokesman for the group. " We 
don't think we're so bad ourselves. But a lot of 
the ministers who come here have been reading 
books like The Plastic Age and This Side of 
Paradise, and they are convinced that school and 
college are dens of iniquity. Only last week a 
minister stood up and told us that our generation 
was perverse and wicked. I should like to know 
really what our fathers were like when they were 
here at Andover." 

"Much worse than you are, my son," said 


Charlie Foster genially. " IVe been at Andover 
for a good many years, and I can tell you that 
things are vastly better than they were thirty 
years ago. We get some fairly dull boys here 
now, but nothing to what we used to have then. 
Why, when I first came here to teach, — I won't 
say how far back, — there sat on the bench in front 
of me two men, both older than I. They were 
both football players, — ' Pete ' Vaughan and 
' Pat ' Dorsey. Pete was at least sLx feet, four 
inches tall, and had arms that reached to his 
knees. Pat was chunky and stolid, as strong as a 
bull. Either one could have reached over the 
desk and pulled me out of my chair with one arm. 
Neither, however, had the brains of a baby rabbit, 
and, try as we might, we couldn't get them 
through the lowest class, — and both were old 
enough to vote. They played on the eleven for 
one year, made wonderful records as athletes, and 
then had to go. We don't get that kind now, I'm 
glad to say." 

" You're right," said Mr. Loring. who had 
hitherto said very little. " Perhaps we have less 
rugged manhood than we did then, but there are 
fewer stupid dolts. I should say that the fellows 
now are more intelligent and less picturesque. 


Can't you remember Pink Sheldon, who went to 
call so often on a young lady in the town? The 
family disliked him, the girl hated to see him, and 
they resorted to every kind of subterfuge to keep 
him away. He was put on probation, but he 
would call then between seven and eight, or on 
Sunday afternoon. No matter what kind of a 
hint was given him, he would bob up serenely the 
next day. Finally the faculty had to ' fire ' him 
in order to relieve the poor girl from the annoy- 

" Mr. Loring," said Oscar, who now spoke for 
the first time, " that fellow had nothing on me. 
I was the stupidest fellow that ever entered 

" Oh, no, no," protested Professor Foster, in his 
function as host. "You weren't stupid. You 
were ignorant. There's a great difference. And 
when you had a chance to learn, you made rapid 

Somehow the topic of athletics was brought up, 
and Mr. Loring described some of the famous 
faculty baseball games, in one of which a scholarly 
teacher, having accidentally knocked a fair ball, 
promptly ran to third, intending to go around 
the bases in reverse order. Al Mason told of the 


class baseball contests in his time, which degen- 
erated almost into mortal combats. When one 
team was in the field, the other had small cannon 
near first and third, which were discharged at 
intervals to rattle the pitcher. Once a travelling 
German band was introduced to swell the tmnult, 
and the rash musicians barely escaped with their 
lives. It was not unusual for a game to last from 
two o'clock until dark, when the players left the 
field, their faces streaked with blood and their 
uniforms bespattered with dirt. 

The subject of cleanness in athletics inevitably 
led to other comparisons between yesterday and 
to-day. " We probably had stronger teams in 
the '90's than we have now," said Professor Fos- 
ter, " but there weren't so many restrictions. We 
used to have full-grown men on our elevens then. 
I remember once when we were playing another 
academy that a small boy, six or seven years old 
at least, ran up and down the sidelines shouting to 
the fullback on the opposing team, ' Go it, Daddy, 
go it! ' That could never happen to-day. One 
of the greatest American football players went 
to * prep ' school when he was twenty-five! " 

" Why, in my time," said Tom Gordon, " there 
wasn't always friendly feeling between the schools. 


There was a period of three years when Andover 
and Exeter broke off relations, wasn't there? '' 

" Yes, and there was one actual free-for-all fight 
in the Exeter station. It's a fact that an Andover 
teacher, Professor Hoy, stepped in and did some 
slugging himself to break it up." 

"That's funny," said Oscar, thoughtfully. 
" Nowadays we're always on the best of terms. 
And when Andover and Exeter men go to college, 
they stand together." 

" That's what I've been trying to say," said Al 
Mason. " They're a better lot than we were, and 
people ought to stop criticising them. It's a great 
school, and the boys in it, take them as a whole, 
are all right. I watched them in the society house 
and heard them talk when they didn't dream that 
any one was listening, — and they'll do. What we 
middle-aged men want to do is to remember that 
we ourselves had warm blood in our veins once. 
God help this poor old world if it ever gets hard- 
ening of the arteries! " 

" We do seem pretty venerable, I imagine," said 
Charlie Foster. " Last summer I was talking with 
a little fellow about six or seven about Andover. 
He asked me about its history, and I explained 
that it was founded during the Revolutionary 


War. ' Gee! ' said the boy, with his eyes pop- 
ping out of his head, ' and you've been there all 
the time since then, haven't you, Uncle Charlie? ' 
That shows what the young really think of us." 

" It's the heart that counts, not the body," said 
Mr. Loring. "And you'll always be young in 
spirit! " 

" With which complimentary remark we might 
as well join the ladies," said Professor Foster. 
And the talk when they reached the drawing- 
room took another turn. The men had had their 

Conversations like these helped to tell Oscar 
something of the history of Andover, and he 
bought a book which sketched its foundation and 
early development. It rather pleased him to 
think that the school, — his school, — dated back to 
the days when Washington was keeping up the 
courage of his half-starved troops at Valley Forge, 
when our national government was in the making. 
Like most boys, he was a conservative in tempera- 
ment, and he was glad that the academy main- 
tained its ancient traditions. His one deep re- 
gret, as he drew nearer his graduation, was that 
he had not been sent to Andover for the full 
course. Just as he was beginning to appreciate 


its influence, he would have to leave it. There 
were moments when the thought of departure 
made him feel depressed. 

Meanwhile the spring term hastened to a close. 
For a week after the track meet, everything cen- 
tered around baseball. Nobody talked any longer 
about what Oscar and Len Whitney had don^ on 
the previous Saturday; the students were busy 
speculating what Steve Fisher would be able to 
do in the pitcher's box and how many hits Bill 
Jones would make. Oscar went with the school 
to Exeter, sitting on the way up in the train just 
across the aisle from Steve Fisher and his father, 
the Reverend James Fisher, and taking a keen 
delight in the tales which the latter, who had 
played on the nine in 1883, had to relate. The 
game turned out to be the most hair-raising ever 
held between the two schools. Again and again it 
seemed as if Exeter were getting the upper hand. 
The Andover team was undoubtedly over-confi- 
dent, and this attitude is always dangerous in an 
Andover-Exeter contest. But Steve Fisher was 
cool in tight places, and in the last inning, with 
the score a tie, and with two men out, Van Jack- 
son, Andover's catcher, knocked a grounder to the 
left of first base, bringing in Dave Williams from 


second. The game was won by a score of six to 

It had indeed been a glorious year, — ^an " annus 
mirabilis/' Professor Foster called it, — with vic- 
tories for Andover in three major sports. The 
boys did their best at the celebration, but there 
were evidences that they were satiated with suc- 
cess. Oscar took part in the parade, all the time 
wondering whether it were really true that just a 
week before he had sat in the barge and had been 
drawn about the streets as Steve Fisher was be- 
ing drawn now. He stood on the edge of the 
crowd with Bull Taylor, watching the huge fire 
flame up and listened to the speeches and the tired 

" I wonder whether college can possibly be as 
good as this! " he said to Bull. 

" I don't know," answered Bull, " and I may 
never get a chance to find out. But if it can beat 
this, it must be wonderful! " 

Mrs. Harris, who had spent the winter in 
Egypt and the spring at Mentone, felt obliged to 
come to the United States for her son's gradua- 
tion, and had, therefore, sailed early in June from 
Cherbourg, on a liner which landed in Boston. 
Oscar^ whose scholastic record was creditable, 


found no difficulty in persuading the Head to al- 
low him to meet her on the dock. After wander- 
ing rather helplessly along the water-front, he 
finally ascertained where the Scythia was to land 
and waited patiently for some hours until the 
vessel discharged her passengers. 

Meanwhile Mrs. Harris had gazed from the 
upper deck with longing eyes at the shore, hoping 
to have a glimpse of her child, — but she could see 
no one who resembled him. Clearly, she thought, 
he had been unable to obtain the necessary leave, 
and she would not see him until she reached An- 
dover. It was a disappointment! She walked 
down the gangplank, with two stewards carrying 
her hand-baggage, and resigned herself to the 
prospect of a lonely three or four hours. But as 
she put foot on the dock, a tall young man, in 
neat flannels and a straw hat, seized her in his 
arms and gave her a hug which threatened to 
crush her collar-bone. 

"Why, Tenny," she cried, as she disengaged 
herself, rearranged her hat, and smoothed down 
her hair, " how rough you are! It's just like being 
embraced by a bear! You don't seem like my 
boy, any more! '' 

"Rough! Why, Mother, that was a demon- 


stration of affection. I was merely giving you the 
glad grapple! " 

Mrs. Harris stopped patting her dress and 
turned to look at her son. Was this the boy she 
had left behind, — this young giant so obviously 
accustomed to slang? She inspected him care- 
fully. He had evidently grown broader of shoul- 
der and much heavier, for his legs were no longer 
mere spindles and his face was fuller. His skin 
was brown, and, although he still wore tortoise- 
shell glasses, there was a sparkle in his eyes which 
she had never seen there before. He seemed to 
resemble some one whom she had known! Oh, 
yes! That was it! He was getting to look ex- 
actly like his father, — the same firm jaw, winning 
smile, and erect carriage. The resulting memory 
was almost overpowering. 

There was a further change, moreover, which 
impressed Mrs. Harris. Her son was no longer 
a boy, or a youth, but a man. He bore himself 
with complete independence, as if he feared no 
one. " Now, Mother, where are all your bags? 
I'll see whether I can put it across with these cus- 
toms harpies.'* Alfred had never behaved in this 
fashion before. Actually he was taking care of 
her, whereas she had always watched over him. 

Mrs. Harris stopped patting her dress and turned to 

LOOK AT her son.— Page ^58. 


She rather liked this new system. It was what 
the boy's father had done for many years. 

Alfred was moving with the assurance and 
speed of one who is accustomed to getting things 
.^one. He seemed to know how to say a few 
pleasant words to the inspector and secure his 
interest in their behalf, and other people evidently 
liked to have him around. Mrs. Harris, who knew 
herself how to manage officials, was more and 
more bewildered as she saw the efficiency with 
which he operated. In an incredibly short time 
they were done with the customs, Alfred had con- 
jured up a taxicab out of nowhere, and they were 
stepping out at the Copley Plaza. 

" I thought that you would like to have tea 
before you took the ride out to Andover," he said 
as they entered the lobby. 

" How thoughtful you are, Alfred ! You are 
just as your father used to be." 

" Mother,'^ said the boy in a hesitating way as 
they took their seats at the table, "I wonder 
whether you would mind dropping the 'Alfred' 
and the 'Tenny' and calling me Oscar? It's 
what everybody calls me at school, and I'm used 
to it." 

" Oscar! " repeated Mrs. Harris in astonish- 


ment. " Oscar! Why Oscar? I don't see where 
you got that name? " 

" I don't, either," confessed the young fellow. 
" Steve Fisher gave it to me last fall for no rea- 
son whatever, and it's stuck. Funny, isn't it? 
There's a chum of mine named Ohver, and he is 
always called * Joe,' — why, I haven't the slightest 
idea. But I rather like my new name. You 
know I've always hated 'Alfred,' and I'm not keen 
for ' Tenny ' either." 

" I'll try to call you that if you like, Al — Oscar. 
But it does sound a little queer at first. I tried 
to give you a name that nobody could shorten 
up, — and look at the result! " 

" Well, it isn't as bad as some names. There's 
a man on the faculty named * Claude.' That's 
terrible! Anyhow. Oscar's all right! " 

Mrs. Harris, as she poured the tea and put in 
the four lumps of sugar that young people usually 
want, had another look at her offspring. 

" Why, Al — Oscar," she said, " you're wearing 
a soft collar, aren't you? And where did you get 
that gaudy necktie? " 

" Gosh, Mother, if I sported a stiff collar out 
there, I'd get jollied for fair." 

Mrs. Harris did her best to keep her inward 


horror from showing on her face. When she had 
left her son behind in September, he was precise 
in his speech and accurate in his language. Now 
he had lost entirely the slightly English accent 
of which she had been so proud ; and he was em- 
ploying idioms of which she had never heard. 
But she did not fail to recognize the fact that he 
had not become vulgar. He was still just as much 
of a gentleman as ever, and even his clothing, 
though less formal than she liked, was neat and 

" Where's your top-coat? I didn't see you 
check it. You didn't leave it at the dock, did 
you? '' Mrs. Harris asked, anxiously. 

"My top-coat! Why, Mother, I haven't any. 
I haven't worn an overcoat for months. Not since 
the snow left the ground." 

" How do you keep from catching cold? " 

"Great Scott, I don't know. Taking lots of 
exercise and a cold shower every morning, I 

"A cold shower every day! Do you mean to 
say, Alfred Harris, that you take a cold bath 
every day? " 

"I sure do. And, Mother, please remember 
that my name is Oscar." 


" All right, Oscar. I'll try to keep it in mind. 
But it's not easy." 
" Did I write you, Mother, that I had got my 

" No, you didn't. In what subject was that? 
In English?" 

" No, Mother dear, not that. I mean my 'A' 
for winning against Exeter in a relay race." 

" Do you mean to say that you ran a mile? 
Why, I never have let you run at all! Your heart 
is weak." 

" I'll never admit it, Mrs. Thomas Walker 
Harris. I won the mile since then, too. And I 
pretty nearly broke the record, besides. I wish 
you could have been there." And Oscar proceeded 
to give his mother a thrilling description of his 
battle with Red O'Brien. 

" I'm glad I wasn't there," answered Mrs. 
Harris, with a shudder. " I should have been 
worried to death." 

Oscar was troubled and alarmed. He wanted 
desperately to explain some things to his mother, 
but he did not wish to offend or hurt her. He 
began in a rather apologetic manner. 

" Mother, should you mind if I said something 
before we get out to the school? " 


" No, of course not." 

" Well, I'll try to make it clear. You see, An- 
dover is a place with all sorts of peculiar customs, 
— at least they probably will seem strange to you. 
If the fellows there think that you aren't manly 
or independent, they make fun of you. Now you 
mustn't treat me or speak to me as if I were a 
child in a baby-carriage. If you act as if I were 
a piece of porcelain, I'll get razzed." His moth- 
er's face looked puzzled, and Oscar translated, " I 
mean, I'll be ridiculed. 

" Now," he went on, " the fellows up there may 
not seem to you like the English boys we used to 
meet, but they're really wonderful, and nobody 
can be finer than they are. You have to under- 
stand us Americans to realize our splendid traits." 
This last was to Mrs. Harris a delightful touch, — 
" us Americans! " 

. Mrs. Harris, in spite of her nervousness about 
her child, was really a sensible woman. The be- 
reavement which she had suffered had, it is true, 
made her apprehensive, but her solicitude was 
based on an ardent affection. She had been 
taught much by her husband, and she could un- 
derstand what Oscar was attempting to get at. 
Oscar's letters, moreover, had opened her eyes to 


?ne fact that the father's character was beginning 
to assert itself in the son. It would still take her 
some time to adjust herself to changed conditions, 
but she was ready to do her best. 

"Look here, Oscar," she said, after she had 
sipped her tea and regained control of herself, 
" I don't want you to be ashamed of your mother, 
and I'm going to try to do just what will please 
you. Only you'll have to be patient if I make a 
few mistakes at first. You see I'm a foreigner 
now, and you may have to teach me how to be- 
have like an American." She smiled as she 
thought of Oscar's phrase: " us Americans! " 

" That's all right, Mother. You're the prettiest 
mother that any one in the class can show, and I 
shall be proud to take you around. You'll get 
used to everything in a hurry." 

The tables were completely turned. When she 
had brought Oscar to Andover, she had attended 
to every detail. Now she had Oscar to wait on 
her. Mrs. Harris, as she rode out in the train, 
through Wakefield and Reading and Ballardvale, 
kept pondering on her problem. It was going to 
be hard for her not to recommend rubbers for 
him when it rained, but she would have to keep 
still. The boy had outgrown some of his former 


pretty ways, but she was sure that she preferred 
him as he now was. She had nurtured a boy who 
had obviously become a man, and must be treated 
as such. 

As he towered above her on the platform of 
the Andover station, making arrangements for 
the disposition of her trunks and arranging for a 
taxicab up the hill, she could see in him again 
the resemblance to his father. Tears filled her 
eyes at the recollection, but she stepped aside for 
a moment and dried them with her handkerchief. 
She must not make a fool of herself, she must not! 
And, when he left her at the Phillips Inn for a 
rest before dinner, she was resolved to act so that 
Alfred, — there it was again! — so that Oscar would 
be glad to exhibit her to his friends. 



Mrs. Harris had arrived on the Friday pre- 
ceding Commencement Week, just in time to at- 
tend all the festivities, and she was amused to 
discover that all the plans and arrangements for 
the next few days were being made by Oscar. He 
had decided where she was to stay, what invita- 
tions she was to accept, and even the hours when 
she was to rest; and she had to adhere to his 
program. Her sensations as she found out that 
she was being " bossed '' are a little difficult to 
analyze. At first she protested, but she quickly 
saw that this did no good whatever; the boy, as 
his father had done, merely kept straight on in 
his course, saying very little, but waving aside 
all criticisms. Altogether, he was a rather forceful 
personality, whom it was impossible to withstand. 
It was certain that he had character. Somehow 
the school had brought out all his good traits and 
eradicated many of his former weaknesses. 

A night's reflection quite reconciled Mrs. Harris 


to the situation, and she appeared at breakfast 
entirely composed and looking very girlish and at- 
tractive. She was, of course, still a young woman, 
and she had left off her mourning black when she 
returned to the United States, having decided that 
it was her business now to devote herself to her 
son rather than to her husband's memory. It 
was no small satisfaction for her to notice that, 
as she appeared in the latest models of Parisian 
hats and gowns, Oscar showed himself very proud 
of her; and indeed, with her light hair, slender 
figure, and vivacious manner, she seemed more 
like his sister than his mother. Sons on such oc- 
casions are very critical, but Oscar expressed him- 
self as entirely satisfied. 

Now that her mind was adjusted to conditions 
as she found them, Mrs. Harris, — ^who was not 
without a sense of humor, — amused herself by 
studying her stalwart son to see exactly what An- 
dover had done to him. In the Phillips Inn with 
her were other parents of boys in the graduating 
class, many of them of the " doting '* kind which 
Oscar so much disliked. Each mother opened the 
dialogue by boasting of her offspring's achieve- 
ments, such as they were, and Mrs. Harris had 
often occasion to be thankful that she could say, 


in a casual manner, " Yes, my boy is a member 
of K. P. N., and the best mile-runner on the track 
team." After this ceremony had been duly per- 
formed and the matter of boyish diseases and ten- 
dencies had been covered, the parents fell back 
on the more general but always fascinating topic 
of the influence of Andover on its students. Not 
every mother was as pleased as Mrs. Harris. 
There were some who felt that their sons had been 
submerged in the crowd; there were others who 
complained that their boys had not received 
enough personal attention from the teachers ; now 
and then there would be one who was convinced 
that her Willie would have done better somewhere 
else. Mrs. Harris, who knew almost nothing of 
other American schools, listened attentively to all 
that was said and acquired some useful informa- 
tion, — especially when, after hearing all about 
Johnny Jones from Johnny's mother, she inquired 
about Johnny from Oscar and was told the painful 
truth, — that Johnny was lazy or conceited or 
" footless." She became convinced of the truth of 
Stephen Leacock's remark, " Some men would 
have been what they are, no matter what they 
were! " 
On Saturday afternoon Mrs. Harris was invited 



to the Head's house for tea, and, in the seclusion 
of a quiet corner, had an enlightening conversa- 
tion with that busy gentleman. 

"Ah, Mrs. Harris," he said, as he shook her 
hand cordially, " it's nearly a year since we met, 
is it not? I recall distinctly your call just before 
you sailed for Europe. Has your boy Oscar 
changed at all since you saw him last? " 

"Indeed he has! Meeting him again is like 
taking an excursion into an unfamiliar country. 
Now and then I can detect a trace of his old self, 
but he's really an entirely different person. I've 
had to get reacquainted with him." 

" I can readily imagine it. He is not very much 
like the puzzled youngster who brought me some 
free verse last fall or who tried to smoke a ciga- 
rette on the portico of the Main Building." And 
he told Mrs. Harris the two stories, laughing as 
he did so. " Those incidents show how he began 
his career. Any ordinary boy could not have re- 
covered from the shock. But Oscar has a happy 
faculty for learning by experience. Each mistake 
that he has made has taught him something." 

" I have been wondering just what did happen. 
What magic charm did you employ to effect such 
a transformation? " 


" We did very little but provide the opportu- 
nity, Mrs. Harris. The inevitable course of Nature 
did the rest. Here was a boy who came of sound 
stock, whose body, feeble though it seemed to be, 
was naturally strong, and whose will, though it 
was untried, was resolute. He had never been 
placed in an environment where his powers could 
develop. We didn't put anything in to him; we 
just drew it out. That's what education means, 
you know, — the Latin e-ducere, to draw out. My 
only regret is that he could not be here longer. 
He is only just beginning to show his strength. 
In college he will make a brilliant record. I have 
watched him carefully, and I know." 

" I have been especially interested in what he 
has had to say about his friends," said Mrs. 
Harris, who loved, like every mother, to talk about 
her son. " He never used to mix at all with other 
boys, and now he seems to know everybody in 
school. Apparently there isn't anything of the 
snob about him." 

" Well, that is a kind of Andover tradition, if 
you'll let me boast a little. The school undoubt- 
edly helped to teach him that. Here on this Hill 
it matters very little what kind of a family a lad 
comes from. It's what he is and does that counts. 


No democracy could be fairer, — and it's typically 
American, I believe." 

^' I have never forgotten your words to me as 
I left your house last fall," concluded Mrs. Harris, 
noticing that another mother was hovering about, 
evidently hoping for a word with the Head. "And 
I want to say that every single item in your proph- 
ecy has been fulfilled." 

" I'm not always as fortunate as that," laughed 
the Head, as he turned to confront a mother whose 
son, because of a failure in English, was not to 
receive a diploma. Another phase of his com- 
plex and interesting task was before him, for he 
was obliged to explain failures as well as suc- 

Hoping to get better acquainted with Oscar's 
friends, Mrs. Harris urged him to invite several 
of them to dinner at the Inn that evening. At 
six-thirty a little group gathered in one of the 
private dining-rooms, including some of the rep- 
resentative leaders of the school, — Bull Taylor, 
Kid Wing, Joe Watson, Spider Drummond, Bar- 
ney Wright, and, of course, Hal Manning. On 
one side Mrs. Harris had placed Bull; on the 
other, Hal. The contrast between them was not 
so striking as the similarity. It is true that Hal's 


speech was the closely clipped accent of the well- 
bred Bostonian, with the broad " a " and the 
slurred "r^s," while Bull's pronunciation was 
more nasal,. and often his final " g's " were left off. 
Yet both were gentlemen, with careful table man- 
ners and unfailing courtesy. Both were masters, 
when occasion demanded, of the mysterious slang 
language which had at first so puzzled Mrs. 
Harris; and both were neatly dressed, in the fash- 
ion which Andover conventionality that year pre- 
scribed. They met, of course, on absolutely even 
terms. Each, having done something in school 
life, was considered by his mates to be a man, 
not only by personality but also by accomplish- 
ment. Each had been elected to one of the best 
fraternities in the academy. Yet one had a large 
allowance, and the other was waiting on table and 
running a laundry agency to support himself 
through school. Hal would step out of college 
into a brokerage firm where his path to success 
would be made smooth and a partnership eventu- 
ally awaited him. Bull, no matter what he un- 
dertook, would have to work up slowly, with no 
influence back of him. Yet both were typical 
Andover products, and Mrs. Harris was inclined 
to believe that, at the end of a quarter of a cen- 


tury, Buirs achievement in life, measured by the 
things that really count, might be as great as 

As she chatted with them and listened to their 
stories, Mrs. Harris was constantly watching to 
see how these boys treated Oscar, — whether there 
was any condescension or superciliousness in their 
attitude. So far as she could observe, Oscar was 
on even terms with them in every respect. Oc- 
casionally when the conversation would turn in 
his direction and he would tell some anecdote, 
she could not believe that he was her son, so much 
he seemed like a stranger. She noticed that, as 
a host, Oscar attended to every detail and made 
sure that each guest had a good time. 

The talk turned to church services. " I cer- 
tainly hope that the minister to-morrow will not 
compare life to a football game," said Kid Wing, 
introducing the topic. " We've had four sermons 
like that since Christmas, and we're all tired of 
that figure of speech." 

" That must be funny," said Mrs. Harris. " Do 
you keep track of sermons as closely as that? " 

"I certainly do, Mrs. Harris," replied Kid. 
"Why, last year we had three sermons in suc- 
cession, by three different men, on exactly the 


same text, — something about the Prodigal Son. 
And then one minister came here twice dm-ing the 
term and gave us the same sermon each time, — 
forgot absolutely that he'd delivered it here be- 
fore. Oh, we remember things of that sort." 

** The worst,'' said Hal Manning, " was the time 
when there was a kind of mania for reciting a 
poem that ended ' Play up ! Play up ! and play 
the game! ' It has something to do with cricket, 
I guess. Almost everybody who spoke in chapel 
all during the spring term would end up by drop- 
ping his voice to a low impressive tone and say- 
ing, 'And now, my friends, there is a well-known 
poem which sums up the spirit of this ancient 
school,' — and then he would get off that old chest- 
nut once more. Once Dolly Loring, — that's the 
teacher, Mrs. Harris, — who never goes to church 
anyhow, and knew nothing about what was hap- 
pening, — closed his recitation by saying, * Gentle- 
men, there's a little poem that I should like to 
read you because it so beautifully illustrates what 
IVe been saying,' — and he started: 

** 'There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night — 
Ten to make and the match to win ! ' 

Every fellow in the class knew how it ended, and 


when he reached the last line of the first stanza, 
they all joined in: 

" 'But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote — 
Play up ! Play up ! and play the game ! ' 

It was so funny that the whole class was shriek- 
ing with laughter. Of course Dolly was peeved 
for a minute, but then somebody explained the 
joke and he saw the fun in it. He's always a 
good sport." 

Mrs. Harris could have sat until midnight 
listening to these entertaining tales of undergrad- 
uate life, but the guests had to leave for their 
society meetings, and the party broke up by nine 
o'clock. The dinner had been for her a liberal 
education. When they had all departed, she took 
a chair by the window of her room looking out 
over the campus. From the terrace in front of 
Phillips Hall came the music of familiar tunes, 
sung by the seniors assembled there to get cool 
on a hot night. She went to sleep with a feeling 
that she was dwelling in the midst of romance. 

Mrs. Harris wanted to attend the church serv- 
ice on Sunday morning, and Oscar took a seat with 
her in one of the rear pews, feeling a little pe- 
culiar out of his accustomed bench. His mind, I 


fear, was not on the sermon. At first he won- 
dered whether the clergyman would use the time- 
worn text, but when it became apparent that he 
was to speak on something else, the boy lost in- 
terest. In his reverie he went back to the morn- 
ing when he had first taken his place in chapel 
and had looked around at the colored windows 
and the memorial tablets on the walls. Every 
once in a while some one of Oscar's acquaint- 
ances, usually Ted Sherman, would stir up an ar- 
gimaent against compulsory church and chapel, 
and would put up rather a plausible plea for 
his side of the case. But here, as he sat with the 
school in a body, Oscar realized that mere logic 
meant nothing. It was sentiment which counted, 
so far as church was concerned. Oscar thought 
that he should like to have his sons and grand- 
sons sit in these seats as he had done and drink 
in, so to speak, the spirit of the old academy. 
Suddenly he heard the clergyman announcing the 
closing hymn, " Onward, Christian Soldiers! " 
He smiled to think that he had been there for 
half an hour without hearing a word of the ser- 
mon. What good, then, had he derived from the 
service? As he pondered on this problem, he 
could answer his question only by protesting to 


himself that there was something intangible and 
indefinite, but very real, which made attendance 
worth while. His mother unquestionably thought 
so, for she spoke of it as if it had given her in- 
spiration for the day. 

As soon as church was over, Mrs. Harris and 
Oscar started with Mrs. Manning and Hal, in the 
Mannings' car, for a trip along the Massachu- 
setts North Shore, arranged to prove to Mrs. 
Harris how beautiful it was. They went first to 
Salem, where they saw Hawthorne's House of 
Seven Gables; then they continued along the 
rocky coast to Magnolia, where they stopped for 
a picnic lunch on the boulders overlooking 
Gloucester Harbor and the reef of Norman's Woe, 
from which the mournful sound of the bell-buoy 
floated to them across the waves. Hal stood on 
a lofty point and declaimed in a theatrical tone: 

*'Such was the wreck of the Hesperus, 
In the midnight and the snow ! 
Christ save us all from a death like this, 
On the reef of Norman's Woe!'' 

As they sat there out in the warm June air, the 
harrowing tragedy of the good ship Hesperus 
seemed very remote and improbable. After lunch 
they motored to Ipswich and Newburyport, with 


its long High Street lined with lovely colonial 
homes, and then to Amesbury, where they stopped 
to visit Whittier's birthplace. Here Oscar came 
back at Hal with a still less suitable poem, and, 
posing under the hot sun, quoted from Snow- 

* ' Unwarmed by any sunset light 
The grey day darkened into night, 
A night made hoary with the swarm 
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm 
As zigzag, wavering to and fro, 
Crossed and recrossed the winged snow.'^ 

With this, their literary pilgrimage came to an 
end, and they returned to Andover, just in time 
for chapel, after a circuit of seventy miles through 
one of the most beautiful sections of the New 
England countryside. 

Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Manning together 
watched the procession of seniors come down the 
Elm Arch, with Professor Bannard at their head 
as Chief Marshal, and inside the chapel they had 
seats beside the Reverend James Fisher, Steve's 
father. The Baccalaureate Sermon was preached 
by a young Andover graduate named Boynton, 
who talked very simply and directly on some of 
the fundamental virtues, like sincerity and loyalty 
and patriotism. With moving eloquence he re- 


ferred to Andover men who had displayed these 
qualities in times of crisis, — to Jack Wright, the 
young " poet of the air," who, at eighteen, had 
sacrificed his life for a noble cause in the World 
War, and Schuyler Lee, who had been killed in 
combat with four of the enemy, — finally telling 
the story of " Tom '' Harris, who had fallen des- 
perately wounded while going over the top in the 
Argonne Offensive. If he had known that Major 
Harris's wife and son were in the congregation, 
he would not have mentioned that hero. But 
Mrs. Harris bore herself admirably, even though 
she was unable to restrain her tears. As for Os- 
car, he merely sat up straighter, proud that he 
had such a father. The clergyman closed his ref- 
erence to Major Harris by a fitting quotation 
from Wordsworth's poem: 

''This is the Happy Warrior; this is He 
That every Man in Arms should wish to be." 

He did not know until the Head told him after- 
wards that his sermon had had a poignant mean- 
ing to at least two of his hearers. 

The next few days were busy ones, during which 
there seemed to be always something for Mrs. 
Harris to do. At intervals Oscar took final ex- 


aminations in his courses, but did not appear to 
be much worried about them. In the afternoons 
there were teas with some of Oscar's friends on 
the faculty; and three times she and Oscar were 
invited to dinner. Furthermore, Mrs. Harris at- 
tended all the events of Commencement Week, 
from the organ recital down, — or up, — to the 
Promenade. On one evening there was a per- 
formance by the Dramatic Club ; on another there 
was the Potter Prize Speaking contest, in which 
Hal took first placej and on another the Musical 
Clubs gave a concert. Oscar amused his mother 
by apologizing for not being on the Musical Clubs. 
As he explained it, he made up his mind during 
the winter term, when ambition developed in his 
soul, that he would try out for every school or- 
ganization. When a call was issued for candi- 
dates for the Glee Club, Oscar appeared before 
Dr. Schleiermacher, ready for the ordeal. 

" Have you ever done any singing? " asked the 
Director of Music. 

" No, none to speak of/' admitted Oscar. 

" What makes you think that you can do well 
enough to make the Glee Club? " 

" Well, I don't seem to be good for much else, 
and I thought that I would give this a try, sir." 


The patient Dr. Schleiermacher smiled toler- 
antly and patiently, and then told Oscar to run 
up and down the scale. The boy threw back his 
head, opened his mouth, and emitted a series of 
sounds. The result was astounding. Oscar could 
play the piano very well indeed, and he knew the 
theory of harmony; but he had no control what- 
ever over his voice. Dr. Schleiermacher listened 
a moment, beat with his fist on the back of a 
seat, and said, "Stop! " Oscar paused, and the 
teacher said, " Harris, are you making fun of 
me? " 

" No, sir, no, sir, of course not! " 

" Do you mean to say that that noise is your 
natural singing voice? " 

"Why, yes, sir! ^' 

"Well, I never heard anything quite like it. 
It's unique! It isn't bass or tenor or baritone, — 
it's more like snare! Now I tell you what to do. 
You go home quietly and say nothing about that 
voice of yours, and perhaps nobody will ever find 
out what it's like. But if the other fellows ever 
do find out, I'm afraid for your life. I'll try to 
keep your secret." 

Laughing heartily, Oscar asked, "You don't 
think that I have any disease, do you, sir? " 


" No, not as bad as that. But if I were yoi 
I should consider having my t^^sils removed an( 
my adenoids cut out. Then, perhaps, the pah 
would be less for the hearers." 

Oscar could see that Dr. Schleiermacher wa 
joking, but he nevertheless beat a retreat a 
quickly as possible, and abandoned all his musics 
aspirations from that time forth. When Mn 
Harris heard this tale, she smiled. " You're jus 
like your father again," she said. " He couldn 
sing a note, and yet he would insist on taking pai 
in singing the hymns in church. It used to h 
agony for anybody near him." 

" I'm different from him in one way, then, 
replied Oscar, " for I've learned enough now nev( 
to open my mouth when there's anything of thi 
kind going on." 

Commencement Day itself was full of excitin 
moments for Mrs. Harris. It was perfect Jur 
weather, — cloudless, with just enough light wic 
blowing to keep it from being too hot. She stoc 
with Steve Fisher's father watching the proce 
sion of graduates and distinguished guests marc 
around the campus to the music of the stirru 
Andover songs played by the band; she w; 
pleased when she saw on the program Oscai 


name as a member of the Cum Laude Society, 
made up of the highest scholars in the class; and 
she was just as delighted as Mr. Fisher when 
Steve was awarded the Yale Cup, for the best 
scholar and athlete combined, and the Fuller 
Prize, voted to the senior best representing the 
ideals of Andover. Oscar himself received one of 
the Goodhue prizes in English, and went through 
the publicity of the long walk down the aisle to 
the platform, accompanied by the applause of the 
audience. The Otis Prize, for ^' the greatest gen- 
eral improvement," was given to Joe Watson. 
When it was announced, Mr. Foxcroft, the Reg- 
istrar, who was sitting near Mrs. Harris, leaned 
over and said, ^' If it had not been expressly stipu- 
lated that the winner must have been three years 
in Andover, your son would have taken that prize 
without any doubt." 

" I'm mighty glad that Joe did get it," answered 
Mrs. Harris. " He deserves some recognition for 
what he has accomplished. I have heard a great 
deal about him." 

Just then the Head stepped forward once more, 
evidently for the purpose of making another sig- 
nificant announcement. 

" There is a surprise waiting for us this year, — 


an unusual event. I beg leave to introduce Dr. 
Fullerton, of New York City." 

Dr. Fullerton arose and spoke: 

" Ladies and gentlemen, I am here merely as 
the representative of Mrs. Brooks Aten, the donor 
of the Brooks-Bryce Prizes for essays on the gen- 
eral subject of amicable relations between the 
United States and Great Britain.. As you know, 
each of several great American schools submits 
an essay each year in a national contest, the win- 
ner of which receives a silver cup and a summer 
trip to Europe. Last year the award went to 
Exeter; it is my pleasure this year to announce 
the winner of the national competition as Alfred 
Tennyson Harris, of Andover." 

There was a tremendous storm of applause as 
this name was pronounced. Everybody looked in 
Oscar's direction, and the Head beckoned him to 
come to the platform. There Dr. Fullerton 
handed to him a silver goblet nearly a foot high 
and also an envelope containing a check for one 
hundred pounds to be expended on a trip to Eu- 
rope. The ovation which Oscar received as he 
fondled the huge cup in his hands was overwhelm- 
ing. It was impossible for him to say a word. 
He simply nodded his head and proceeded back to 


his seat like a man in a daze. As for Mrs. Harris, 
her heart was so full that she could only smile 
through her tears in answer to the congratulations 
that came to her from those who sat in her vicin- 

After the exercises she met Oscar, and they 
strolled up the Elm Arch. " Well," she said, after 
they had escaped from the crowd, '' you're get- 
ting to be a good deal like a story-book hero, 
aren't you? First you save a boy from a fire; 
then you win a mile run against the rival school ; 
and now you walk off with a trophy big enough 
for a giant! The only thing left for you to do 
is to have a beautiful heiress fall in love with 
you! " 

" For the present I'm going to be satisfied with 
you," answered Oscar, smiling at her. " Besides, 
not even you could ever call me handsome." 

" No," said Mrs. Harris, " I suppose that you 
axe not exactly classical in your features. You 
have what is called a ' strong ' face." 

"Strong is right!" replied Oscar. "I know 
what that means, — ^it's a mild way of saying 
* homely as a hedge fence.' '* 

" Well, you suit me," concluded Mrs. Harris, as 
she left Oscar at the Gymnasium. " I'm like all 


foolish mothers, — I wouldn't have you char 

In the evening came the Promenade, the clo'-'ing 
feature of Commencement Week. Althoug,ii \js- 
car had been during his European years what 
might have been called a " fusser," he had, since 
his arrival in Andover, neglected whatever oppor- 
tunities had been thrown in his way for meeting 
girls. As the spring dance drew near, he had 
been urged by several of his friends to take their 

" Betty is really a pretty decent sort," admitted 
Kid Wing, as he suggested the possibility of Os- 
car's being his sister's escort. *' She's a bit old, — 
eighteen, — but she would do very well for you, 
Oscar. Why not be a sport and ask her? That 
will let me take a Dana Hall girl that I want to 

" I'm sorry not to help you out," was Oscar's 
answer. " I know that your sister is a * peach,' 
but I've got my mother to look out for. She looks 
almost like a girl, and she's just as slim and grace- 
ful as any of these flappers." 

It was some years since Mrs. Harris had danced, 
and she hated to admit to Oscar how much she 
looked forward to the Promenade. The Gymna- 


sium presented a very gay appearance, decorated 
as it was with banners of every hue and educa- 
tional institution. Mrs. Harris took her place 
among the older ladies, but she was not allowed to 
remain there long. After Oscar had danced with 
her, she became one of the most popular partners 
on the floor, and his friends were repeatedly " cut- 
ting in." Furthermore, Oscar introduced her to 
several of the bachelor members of the faculty, 
who certainly did their best to give her a good 
time. When Oscar saw that she was well taken 
care of, he went out and sat under the trees, en- 
joying the cool night air and watching the Japa- 
nese lanterns tossing on their wires among the 
trees. It had been a full day for him, and he was 
glad to have a chance to take his bearings. Once 
he caught sight of Steve Fisher and his father 
looking at the names carved on the base of the 
Memorial Tower, and he saw the older man's hand 
rest affectionately on his son's shoulder. Then 
there came to Oscar, as he had never known it be- 
fore, a sense of the loss which he had suffered. 
When the two had moved along, Oscar strolled 
over to study the long list again. There it was, 
his father's name, THOMAS WALKER HARRIS, 
ahnost at the head of the Roll of Honor. Some- 


thing swelled in his throat as he looked at the 
letters. Then, with a sigh, he turned away, to go 
back to his mother and the gayety by which she 
was surroundedu 



It was a gloriously warm and hazy morning in 
late June on Andover Hill. Again four perfectly 
healthy young men were stretched out lazily on 
the grass in front of George Washington Hall, in 
attitudes which expressed disdain for all forms of 
mental and physical exertion. As it was nearing 
the close of college entrance examination week, 
the quartette should, I suppose, have been hard 
at work over their books, preparing for the next 
test. But there was a summer languor in the air, 
and it was hard for these recent graduates of the 
school to settle down to business. 

"Well, we're honest-to-goodness alumni at 
last! '' burst out Hal Manning. " And I've locked 
my * dip ' safely away in my trunk." 

" I never thought I should make it," commented 

Joe Watson. " But somehow at the last moment 

all the ' profs ' had an attack of generosity, and 

they let me through. Let no one tell me again 

that teachers are hard-hearted." 



" They simply couldn't stand having you 
around here any longer/' remarked Ted Sherman, 
who, as usual, was ready with a jibe at one of his 
friends. '' Haven't you kept them worried for 
three long weary years? I should think that they 
would be willing to stretch their consciences to 
the limit in order to get you out of the way." 

'' Well, Ted," answered Joe, who was not too 
sleepy to retaliate, " I haven't heard yet that the 
Trustees are going to offer you a position on the 

" Good for you, Joe! " interposed Steve Fisher. 
" On the contrary, I've been informed confiden- 
tially that the Head realizes Ted's corrupting in- 
fluence on the young! " 

** By the way, what kind of a job did ' Dad ' 
Warner wish on you yesterday? " inquired Hal, 
referring to the fact that Mr. Warner, the Alumni 
Secretary, had asked Steve to come to see him. 

" Oh, he just wants me to be a Class Agent, — 
that's what he calls it, — and collect money from 
you fellows later on for the Alumni Fund. And, 
believe me, I'll do it, if I have to perpetrate an 
assault on each one of you. And when you get 
to be millionaires, I'll compel you to build a 
dormitory apiece." 


" By that remote date most of us shall have 
forgotten Andover," said Ted. 

''Not on your life!" ejaculated Hal. "I'm 
sure, for one, that no college can ever mean to 
me what this place does! " 

"That's the way I feel," added Joe. "I've 
grown up here, and I'm coming back just as often 
as I can, until I get to be a cripple in a wheel- 

" That's Ted's attitude, too," said Steve. " But 
he can't resist posing as a cynic. Come now, you 
grouch, don't you really hate to leave here? 
Own up." 

"Yes, I suppose I do," admitted Ted reluc- 

" I was sure of it," responded Steve. " Confes- 
sion is good for the soul, and it won't harm you 
to be honest for once. But I've got to do a little 
more plugging on that Greek." And he sat up, 
yawning widely and stretching his arms. 

" Say, who's that over by Pearson Hall? " in- 
quired Hal. 

"Wliy, that's your disreputable roommate. 
That's Oscar Harris and his mother." 

" She's certainly a corker, isn't she? " said 
Steve, as he looked in that direction. " I noticed 


that you fellows danced with her about six times 
apiece at the * Prom.' '* 

" Yes, and you missed a lot by not coming in 
yourself," replied Hal. "She is certainly light 
on her feet, and we got along beautifully to- 
gether. She told me that I was the best dancer 
on the floor." 

" That's funny," said Ted. " She told me that 
I was the best partner she had had that evening." 

" Think of that! " added Joe. "And she let me 
know that she had never found a man who danced 
as well as I." 

" Well," said Steve, " it's easy to see that Mrs. 
Harris is a strategist. No wonder she's popular! 
Now I've never danced with her, but I like her 
just the same! " 

" Do you know," said Joe unexpectedly, " that 
Oscar Harris is one of the finest men in our 
class? " 

"Tell us something new!" responded Ted. 
" Of course he is. There's no one better, — always 
barring this present irreproachable company of 
saints! " 

"You didn't always think so, did you?" said 
Steve significantly, as he stood up to go to his 


stand why I wasn't led down to the station by the 
Student Council and warned not to appear again 
on the premises." 

" Somehow you have managed to scrape along/' 
said Hal, coming to his roommate's rescue. "And 
your record is almost as good as Sherman's." He 
looked a little sarcastically at Ted as he made the 
characteristic remark. 

" You four have certainly done a lot for Oscar," 
said Mrs. Harris. " I'll have to admit that he's a 
little less green than he was last September." 

" Most of us uuprove here," said Steve. 
" We're all a little better than when we came, I 

'' I suppose I ought to say ' Good-bye ' now," 
interposed Oscar. " We're off this afternoon." 

" WTiere are you going? " inquired Ted. 

" Oh, we sail for Europe to-morrow. You see, 
I've got to spend that Brooks-Bryce prize money 
on a trip to England, and Mother would like to 
be in Cornwall and Devon for the summer, any- 

" When shall we six meet again? " asked Hal, 
paraphrasing the famous line in dramatic style. 

" We shall get together again before long, even 
though we may be at different colleges," answered 


By this time Oscar and his mother, who were 
strolling about in the sunshine, had come nearer, 
and the other three boys rose abo to speak to 
them. They all shook hands in the most cordial 
way with Mrs. Harris, who had manifestly be- 
come a favorite with them. When they had 
chatted for some minutes, Mrs. Harris said, " By 
the way, wasn't it near this spot that I saw you 
four for the first time? " 

" That's right, it was,'' recollected Steve. 
" Last fall we were all lying here when you and 
Oscar came along hunting for Mr. Lynton. It 
was a day a good deal like this." 

" Sure enough/' added Joe, '' I remember it per- 

" I have heard something about it," said Oscar, 
with a twinkle in his eye. " Mother, did you 
know that Ted Sherman here wanted to bet 
twenty-five dollars then that I wouldn't last at 
Andover until Christmas? " 

"Oh, Mrs. Harris!" replied Ted. for once 
really discomfited and blushing very red. " That 
was just a joke, that's all! " 

"Joke nothing! *' was Oscar's answer. "You 
meant every word of it, and it's a marvel that I 
wasn't ' fired ' by Thanksgiving. I can't under- 


Steve. "And we shall be back on this Hill often. 
It's the Andover way." 

They shook hands and separated. Within a 
day or two they were miles from Andover, and 
their schooldays together were ended. But they 
had memories which lingered until long after they 
had grown-up sons in the academy which they